False testimony might be something people do in court when they don’t tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. False testimony, and the 8th Commandment, is actually a little more than that. As Martin Luther explained in his Small Catechism, keeping this commandment is done when we protect our reputation and our neighbor’s reputation. As the thousands of years have gone by since our God gave this commandment, this hasn’t gotten any easier. Take the reviews that we see online. Someone can leave a bad review of someone simply because they were having a bad day. It can be almost impossible to undo that damage.
The reason that God makes such a big deal about our reputations is because it is a reflection of him. When I left my home for a sleep over as a child, my parents reminded me that I represented my family, my church, and my God. If my behavior was bad people might think less of people that I care about. This directly applies to your Christian witness. If my name is mud, how will they see my Christian witness? While it is true that only the Word of God can change hearts by the power of the Spirit, (we talked about this in our Pentecost message this morning HERE) one terrible action can make those words fall on deaf ears.
What can we do to help? First of all, maybe you aren’t the one spreading rumors, telling lies about the people around you. That’s a great start. Consider how you can actively stop those who do. This is much harder. Instagram, Facebook, and other social medias allow for bad news to spread almost over night across the country. This isn’t necessarily a good thing. Be the one to stop the rumor and save a reputation whenever you can.
Want to hear more including how church discipline works under the 8th Commandment? Should you really call Pastor Fred when someone sins against you? Watch Sunday’s Bible Class from our series, Back to the Basics: A Study of the Ten Commandments.