There is a frightening trend in our society where folks accuse or make up stories about others.

In this era of the 24-hour news cycle and social media, people are not just implicated of something, they are indicted before all the evidence is in.

I know that some think the Ten Commandments are just suggestions, but God hates false witnesses and slander. Words have consequences, and the innocent have their lives ruined by lying tongues.

In our polarized culture infected with “tribalism,” one side is always trying to get “one up” on the other in hopes to “win points” for their constituency. The sad thing is that lives and reputations are destroyed in the process.

Ephesians 4:25 says, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” False witness is a sin because it destroys, the reason the Eighth Commandment says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

Followers of Jesus are called to speak the truth in love, building one another up. My grandmother hated when people were talking about someone else and would reply, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Lord, in this age of falsehood, may I speak words of encouragement and truth to my neighbor. When we are tempted to share “news” without facts, help us to put our tongues in neutral and stay silent. May we all be careful with our social media posts. Starting lies about someone or spreading them is bearing false witness, a terrible offense in the sight of a holy God.

Ken Locke is community ministries director of The Salvation Army in Warsaw and director of the Greater Warsaw Ministerial Associa-tion. Have ideas for this column? Go to www.gwma.info.