You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. (Exodus 23:1-2)
When summarized, these two verses are about integrity, specifically, guarding one’s tongue against evil speaking. That includes the prohibition to circulate falsehoods, rumors and, in some cases, even those things that are true but shared with the intention of doing harm. Imagine a feather pillow being torn and its contents scattered about, then later, trying to repair it by putting all the feathers back into place; that is the challenge presented with sharing things that are injurious to others; once the words are out there, it is almost impossible to reverse the effects. Rabbinical commentary suggests that slander injures three different say the Rabbis: the one slandered, the one who slanders and the one who passes it on from there.
A just person should not state his case unless the other person is present to defend themselves otherwise they are, potentially, inflicting harm against the other person. Interestingly, the Hebrew words translated as “unrighteous witness” is literally rendered a “witness of violence” (the Hebrew word for “violence” is hamas). An honest person should never associate his testimony with that of a dishonest person nor follow the crowd down the wrong path regardless of the circumstances. We are warned against following the masses for evil purposes, particularly if it perverts justice. In my view, this is one of the problems facing our country today — too many well intentioned people following the crowd because it seems good. Too often, however, the not-so-well intentioned people end up calling calling things God considers evil as good.
True justice is blind to someone’s station in life and it is forbidden to pervert justice no matter how good the intention. By Biblical standards, today’s social justice is not justice at all — it is perverting justice. No matter how well intentioned — even if it is favoring those in less fortunate circumstances — to pervert justice is to commit violence against others; perhaps that is why so many so called Social Justice Warriors are so aggressive and violent. Where we are concerned, the Father has shown us what He expects of His people. He requires that we “Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly” before Him (Micah 6:8). To do what is just means we will show no partiality in any dispute – to the powerful or to the poor nor to our friend or foe. We must stand fast against those who would use good intentions to inflict harm on others. We do that when we stand in the Truth of God’s Word.
Blessings and Shalom,