If we are speaking about another brother or sister in Christ remember that Jesus died for them, as much as you. Honor them in light of that mercy. There is nothing that destroys the Church more than the childish garbage of holding grudges and feelings of anger and jealousy towards others in your local congregation.
We’re almost done with the Ten Commandments. Only two left! In some ways out of all the laws of God summarized in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 the call to not bear false witness has some of the most sticky wickets of all Biblical ethics, it also has some of the most pointed toe-stepping of all the statutes of the LORD. For example, the most common question posed here is was it acceptable for the Dutch man to hide Jews in his attic and lie to the Nazi’s about their presence. It’s a hard one, because bearing false witness is a sin. However, deeper in the midst of the answer is does that SS officer deserve the truth? We’ll get to that here in a minute. Before we go further here are the catechism Q/A’s for this week:
Q. 76. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requires the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness bearing.
Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment forbids whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbor’s good name.
The Ninth is in some sense a corollary to the 3rd commandment, the only difference is this deals with not using your own or your neighbor’s name in vain. While we mainly think of “bearing false witness” as to having to do with court rooms, it really is much more about how we treat one another in truth. People made in the image of God are of value and are worth honor and respect. That dignity is not based on how much you like that person or grounded in the way they have acted toward you. In fact as a Christian if John or Mary does nothing but create disorder and cause trouble it is ever more the reason to not return evil for evil. We are to turn the other cheek, especially against our “enemies”. Christ’s Golden Rule applies to the worst individual you know. To pass blame for your sin to someone else is demonic. That’s what Adam does to Eve in Genesis 3. Doing well to those who mean wrong toward you is part of your witness of the gospel in real life. We expect the world to act like the world. Believers must be above that nonsense.