Taking Up False Reports
by the late G.C. Brewer, Gospel Advocate, April 5, 1945
Among the precepts God gave His chosen people (the Hebrews) by the tongue and pen of Moses is this:
“Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness” (Ex. 23:1).
In the margin “receive” is suggested as a substitute for “raise” — “thou shalt not receive a false report” — and in the Revised Version it is translated, “Thou shalt not take up a false report.”
Whether we read it “raise,” “receive,” or “take up,” the lesson is one the world needs to learn, and Christians should never forget. We should be exceedingly careful never to raise a false report.
If such a report reaches our ears, we should not receive it — that is, believe it. Hearing it unwillingly, and forced by the weight of testimony to give it credence, we should not take it up, and thus give it wider circulation. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred it is impossible for us to know whether an evil report that reaches our ears is true or false, especially impossible to know it is true: hence we are practically forbidden even to receive and positively forbidden to raise or take up any evil report, and why should we wish to do so?
It would be well for every Christian to form the habit of stopping and asking himself this question before he repeats an evil report on any fellow man. “Suppose this charge should be brought into court, could I give any testimony as to the truth or falsity of the charge; do I have any knowledge that would qualify me as a witness in the case?” If he must answser the question in the negative, then he should not repeat the charge, for from all he knows he may be bearing false witness against his neighbor and “putting his hand with the wicked” to injure an innocent man.
The Bible is full of admonition against evil speaking. David said: “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neibhbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth not to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved” (Psa. 15).
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