Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:25
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. What does this mean? 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. The Eighth Commandment
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How important is your reputation? If you are like most people, especially teachers, a good reputation is vital to your work and life. A couple of years ago, my son learned this lesson while attending a servant event with our church youth group. A young person from another group attending the event accused my son of doing something completely out of character for him.
The adults and youth from our church rallied to my son’s defense. They knew him well enough to realize the accusation had to be false. After a bit of investigation, it was discovered that the guilty party was actually someone else from the accuser’s youth group.
This event perfectly reflects Luther’s explanation of the Eighth Commandment. The lie spoken by this young man was intentionally or unintentionally designed to hurt my son’s reputation. Blessedly, his fellow youth responded with the positive attribute of the commandment. They chose to defend and speak well of him.
I’m sure you’ve run into similar situations in your classroom. For whatever reasons, students accuse others of wrongdoing. While these accusations are sometimes true, more often, they are not. As a teacher, your challenge is guiding students to defend and speak well of one another. When your students fall short of keeping this commandment—and they will—you have the joy of sharing the message of forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Christ. He endured all, including false testimony, for your sake and theirs. In Him, you are given His reputation of holiness. May you be strengthened by the Word as you grow in joy and service.
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