As we move through this series, the commandments keep getting more specific and focused. Where we learned that the command, “Never murder” prohibited not only the act of killing but the inner disposition of the heart, the 9th commandment addresses that heart attitude in its focus on what we say about others. To fulfill the command not to bear false testimony, we have to preserve and promote the truth. It means that we do all we can to protect the good name of the neighbor and requires that we understand the other and have the full picture of them in mind.
As we have seen in prior commandments, this is a difficult task since we can easily see so much that is broken in those we relate to. It is easy to find fault and we could be brutal if we spoke the truth about ourselves and about others. Unfortunately, we often do.
In preparation for this week’s study, in addition to reading the texts posted here, read and reflect on the ministry of Jesus with others. He preserved and protected the good name of almost anyone he came in contact with. He was about building up, restoring dignity and health in others. His was a life of healing and restoration, helping others become more of who God made them to be. He spoke the truth with loving acceptance and that transformed those he related to. That is what we will hope to learn this Sunday-- that we might be his followers bringing the same truthful encouragement to those around us.
Our weekly worship guide can be found here once finalized.
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Ephesians 4:25-27; 29-32 (ESV)
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.