Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 24:28
"Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips"
This is a very interesting prohibition for the wise person because it seems to many that this is exactly the thing to do to get ahead. But it will come back to bite you.
This is the Hebrew word ed which means witness or giving a testimony. This proverb is clearly talking about volunteering information about another person that is negative or shameful. Solomon screams: DON'T DO THIS! It may seem like it is the thing to do. It may seem like the way to get ahead is to dish dirt against other people, but it will get around that you cannot be trusted with confidential information. It is very tempting to tell people negative things about someone else but don't do it. Learn how to hold a confidence. If someone who doesn't need to know is interested in another person, then tell them good stuff. It is the fool, the selfish person who uses the shame of another to enhance their standing. Eventually you will not be able to remember what you said to whom and others will hear that you are dishing dirt. This is an unwise strategy. Look for the triple-win.
This is the Hebrew word rea which means friend, companion, neighbor. The idea is that this is someone you know or is clearly within your circle of known people. Be very careful of the negative things that you learn about these people. It may not all be true what you think you know, and you can really mess up your own life by saying things about these people especially when you are not forced or required to say anything.
This is the Hebrew word hinnam which means free, for nothing, or in this case it is translated without cause. This is the key idea in this verse – the needless spreading of negative information, rumor, or gossip without a compelling reason. Be very careful of what you volunteer about others. Let it be positive.
This is the Hebrew word patah which means to entice, deceive, persuade. The clear idea here is that one should not deceive people with their words. Solomon is saying that not only should you not volunteer negative information that you think is true, you should also not deceive people about another person.
Often we are focused on one negative incident or trait about a person, and we blow it up into the whole of the person. This is destructive to them and to you. If you are discovered to consistently give distorted pictures about others, your potential will be capped and the slide has begun.