Monday, April 4, 2016

The 8th Commandment and Logs

The Eighth Commandment.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.

" A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye." - Luke 6:40-43

Here I am going to set forth just a few thoughts on whom you ought to criticize and how.  This is especially portaining to theological critiques - especially as in our social media days, the critiques come flying fast and furious.

Here's my approach.  It's not a popular one.  I know I've annoyed plenty of folks with it.  But here is an explanation and an apology there of.

When it comes to talking, I try (and often fail) to take the 8th commandment seriously - meaning I think, when discussing someone and their failings, or even their erroneous points of view, it is laid upon us to "speak well of him and put the best construction on everything."  This doesn't mean saying that what is wrong is right, but rather:

A - let's be really slow to vilify, and
B - let's see where a person is right as well.  Instead of just smacking them for error, at least lets see that they are somewhat close to the kingdom =o)

And I do this because I operate on a simple assumption - I am just as flawed at that person whose theology I want to skewer, and I can fall into not merely the same sort of error, but even greater.  And if I see a speck in their eye, but I don't see the equivalent log in my own eye... then I'm not seeing clearly.

If you can't see a way that you yourself would collapse into a error that would be like-unto or mirror the error that you are criticizing... don't comment.  Rather, search yourself, lest you too fall into temptation, for sin likes crouching at your door.

Because I find, when I bear in mind my own weaknesses - it's easier to deal with people.  It's easier to bear with them patiently, because I've already borne up under much worse and much longer in myself (your speck has nothing on my log).  In fact, it's when I have disdain that I become haughty and arrogant and dismissive.

So - there's the goal.  The standard I see as set by Scripture and the Confessions.  To be quick to hear and slow to speak, slow to gab.  Knowing that my anger produceth not the righteousness of God.

And how is that person's error like my own ... for then I can say, "Yeah, I know that temptation.  I've carried it long and hard -- and here's why it is bad."

God grant that He hold me and use me as His servant, unworthy though I indeed am!

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