Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause,
and do not deceive with your words.
Do not say, “I will do to him just as he has done to me;
I will pay him back according to what he has done.”
This is an interesting Proverb. It’s interesting because of the second part of verse 28. “Do not deceive with your words.” It’s interesting because this is the norm now. This is normal for our culture.
What I mean is, it’s normal to bend the truth. It’s normal to evade the truth. It’s normal to say enough to be telling the truth while still not saying everything. Politics in general have driven us to a point where we think it’s okay to be intentionally deceptive with our words. We say whatever minimalistic thing we need to say to cover our bases, but we never say everything. We never say the whole truth.
And I think that’s what it comes down to. I think that’s what this proverb is addressing. You can technically tell the truth, but still be deceptive. But, when you tell the whole truth, it’s harder to be intentionally deceptive.
These are some of the principles of being a good neighbor. If you want to have a long-standing relationship, one that endures, then you need to do these things. And those things are: Don’t be intentionally deceptive. Don’t be a witness against your neighbor without cause. Don’t seek vengeance.
Don’t be a witness against your neighbor, and if you are be sure not to be intentionally deceptive. In other words, don’t say partial truths just to try to get your neighbor in trouble. If you know the whole truth, especially if the whole truth will vindicate your neighbor, you need to share it. Don’t seek to get back at your neighbor for whatever wrongs they have done by being a bad witness.
This goes along with gossiping too. You can’t have a good neighbor if you’re constantly gossiping about them. And gossip always intentionally deceives. At least all the gossip I’ve heard. The intent of it is to stretch and bend the truth just far enough to still be “factual” but make them look and sound really bad.
Don’t be intentionally deceptive.