Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ear Candy? Or is it a Grave Concern?

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Therefore, to avoid this vice we should note that no one is allowed publicly to judge and reprove his neighbor, although he may see him sin, unless he have a command to judge and to reprove. For there is a great difference between these two things, judging sin and knowing sin. You may indeed know it, but you are not to judge it. I can indeed see and hear that my neighbor sins, but I have no command to report it to others. Now, if I rush in, judging and passing sentence, I fall into a sin which is greater than his. But if you know it, do nothing else than turn your ears into a grave and cover it, until you are appointed to be judge and to punish by virtue of your office.
The Large Catechism of Martin Luther

In this section Dr Luther is speaking about the command against bearing false witness. This command is usually minimalized to excuse tale bearing. A person knows a sin of another and cannot wait to tell everyone who will lend an ear all about it. “How can X say he is a Christian and do something like that?”

For what purpose are those things brought to light? Is it to correct and erring brother? I fear due to our inner brat it is to show ourselves as superior to others. In this command we are given the gift of mutual peace and respect. When a person is bearing a tale and going on an on about it to others it causes one to think “what does this person say about me behind my back?” So that violation just keeps spreading and spreading so that the wars increase.

In his small catechism Luther says:

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.

Here again we see our daily need for repentance and faith in the dead Jesus. For we in no way can fulfill that laws demands. It is great advice for mutual peace as stated above but it always accuses as well as informs. However, out of love for our loving Father we do strive to fight against tale bearing.

In the name of Jesus. Amen †

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