One of the Ten Commandments is, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). This commandment has deeper meanings.
A false witness in your mind about someone would be a thought such as, “He or she is ____, or he or she is a ____, and is therefore inferior.” In this sense, bearing false witness is seeing someone else incorrectly or incompletely. This generally occurs when we look at their temporal, superficial selves and not at their eternal, spiritual selves.
When we look at the superficial parts of a person (skin color, hair color, nationality, income, age, gender, height, weight, occupation, religion, physical disabilities, etc.), and pre-judge them as being spiritually inferior, we are displaying our own ignorance.
“Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness” (Exodus 23:1).
“One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you” (Deuteronomy 19:15-9). “Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips. Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work” (Proverbs 24:28-9). Sometimes we pre-judge and think that a weakness that we have is also in someone else. Sometimes other people are like mirrors; we see in others what are simply our own weaknesses.
“A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow” (Proverbs 25:18).
“An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity” (Proverbs 19:28). A false witness avoids making true judgments.
“For many bare false witness against him [Jesus], but their witness agreed not together” (Mark 14:56). Focusing on the superficial aspects of a person is bound to be inconsistent. Sometimes a person can appear to feel happy, sometimes he or she can appear to feel sad (but he or she will always be a child of God).
“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-9).
“A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies” (Proverbs 14:5). “A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies” (Proverbs 14:25).
A true witness in your mind about someone would be a thought such as, “He or she is a child of God, and has a potential to become like God.” “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-7).
We can also have a witness regarding ourselves. “And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses” (Joshua 24:22). “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4). “I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me” (John 8:18).
“Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God” (Isaiah 43:10-2).
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:6-9).
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5).