The Eighth Commandment can seem like a tough request, especially when we consider Luther’s explanation to view all that others do in the best possible light. Certainly this requires something on a direct line to sainthood! Yet, this is a commandment which has a broad impact on the world. Imagine how different our election this fall would have been. What if “not bearing false witness” were a requirement? What if we, the people, could find the candidates (both) guilty of such a charge? It sounds far-fetched, doesn’t it. Imagine how many friendships and relationships would still be intact had this commandment been followed. Imagine what it would be like if “truth-tellers” were actually telling the truth to help others and for the reputations of others to be preserved.
Scripture references to check out (this is a very shortened list):
Matthew 7:1-5 Always a good image to consider when the false witnessing takes on a judgmental tone. The King of metaphors, Jesus points to the real truth in these verses.
Luke 22:54-62 What should Peter have said? How is this commandment so important in terms of character referencing? What does it mean that Peter betrays Jesus in such a stark manner, and later is forgiven and becomes the first leader of the church?
Similarly, what do you do when someone asks you for a reference and you do not know of good things to say–should you lie in omission? No, you should give the best reference that you can and be truthful, yet as kind as possible.
James 4:11-12 (the tongue reference is earlier in chapter three).
Psalm 15:2 A good verse to repeat prayerfully
Ephesians 4:15 A good verse to memorize!
John 18:25-38 Notice the importance of truth and how difficult it is to clearly identify in the midst of disagreements, trials, and confusions.
Pray for your tongue, to represent you well.
Pray for those who do not know or understand the truth, having long become friends with Mr. and Mrs. Slander (they aren’t even married, you know…).
Peace in Christ,