There is a pernicious lie that we tell ourselves that it is okay to be rude toward men and women who have acted poorly toward us. That is the type of action the devil loves. He hopes and prayers for division between the Lord’s people especially. Rather than to allow yourself to be snared in that trap, bring honey and sugar to bear (no pun intended) for the barbs of vinegar tossed in your direction by those who seek your home. Overcome evil with love.
Today in God’s law we are looking at one that is somewhat most dearest to our interests. Of all the things in life we desire for ourselves it is that others might think well of us. To have a bad reputation is to ruin whatever first impression we may give when being introduced to someone for the first time. It also means that folks might give you a squinty eye when they see you out in public. This is especially the case when you don’t even know why people are treating you differently. There is no pain like finding out that someone is spreading rumors which concern something you have not done, or completely misrepresent an action you took that is the total opposite of what is being portrayed. The key identifier of the second half of the ten commandments is the love of neighbor. To love your neighbor means to love yourself first. If you want people to think well of you than it is probably a good idea for you to ensure that what you say about someone is both true and accurate to reality. We confess what we believe about Jesus Christ by how we treat one another. If you cannot keep the good name of a friend, how can you expect others to do the same for you?
That’s what this law is all about. Here are the Q/A’s for this week:
Q. 143: Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Q. 144: What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are: the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbour, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbours; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for, and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging tale-bearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practising of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.
The Christian faith is built on truth, because our God is truth. Words like true and false only have meaning because of the Triune God of the Bible.