This devotion series is brought to you by Pastor Ricky Jacob, serving the Winnebago people at Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and Preschool. (Need to go back to week 1, click here.)
You can read the devotion below, or listen to it here.
Through this series, I am addressing those who are the head of the family and their God-given calling and responsibility to instruct their household in spiritual matters. The basis for our reflection today is on one of the commands that Creator God inscribed in stone and first gave to Moses.
Today we will focus on these words: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." In the age of the internet, the disobedience of this command impacts the lives of others more quickly, more extensively and with longer lasting effects. Once upon a time, it took a bit of time for a lie to travel from person-to-person. Now lies, slander, half-truths, inferences travel on the world wide web in seconds.
A songwriter once put this command to music. I will spare you of my attempt at singing it, here are the words:
"Bear no false witness nor defame Your neighbor nor destroy his name.
But view him in the kindest way; Speaktruth in all that you say."
Have mercy, Lord!
[LSB #581 These Are the Holy Ten Commands ML]
This command probably gets the least attention of the ten. Everyone does it, which does not make it right, but who is self-righteous enough to say that it is wrong? You have heard the expression that those in glass houses should not throw stones, and while we all live in so-called glass house, we can't seem to stop picking up and hurling stones at one another.
Dr. Martin Luther nearly 500 years ago taught his flock this simple explanation of this command of God:We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.
How important is it to have others defend, speak well of and explain everything in the kindest way when it comes to one's reputation? Jesus understood and endured slander, lies, betrayal, and insults. He was willing to take it all upon himself to pay for our failure to live up to this command. He offers you His Spirit in order that when you open your mouth or go on the internet or tweet, you can honor the reputation of others as He is willing to welcome you into His kingdom and say that you are one of his brothers or sisters.
This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of God: “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." [1st John 4:16b-18 NIV].