Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Eighth Commandment and the Cloak that Covers Evil

Over the last twenty plus years, going back to the time when I was finishing up at Concordia, Ann Arbor, I have heard one screed on the Eight Commandment after the other. But what is always missed is that the commandment cuts both ways. We are to bear true witness. That means we are to call evil, well... evil. Sometimes the best construction we can legitimately put on something is to explain that is a public sin. The Eighth Commandment is given to protect people's reputations from false attack. But it is also given so that we can warn God's people when a wolf is in their midst. In the end what is most important is the truth. As St. Paul says, "Love... rejoices with the truth." (I Corinthians 13:4-6 ESV) So any attempt to use the Eighth Commandment to suppress the truth turns the command into a cloak which covers evil - and is ultimately, unloving.

2 comments:

Kari said...

I'm glad to hear that, but I still think the 8th is definitely one we must all break every single day. At least now we don't have to think that if speaking the truth. Do we have to speak the truth in love?

Walt's World of Religion and Politics said...

The truth is loving by definition. But perhaps a better way to put it would be to speak the truth with gentleness and humility.
Rev. Walter