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S (SCRIPTURE): LEVITICUS 19:16-18
16 “Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people.
“Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. I am the Lord.
17 “Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin.
18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
O (OBSERVATION): God wants us to speak well of one another, not to act as the world does with gossip and slander.
A (APPLICATION): If you have ever been on the wrong end of being falsely represented, talked about behind your back, or even had someone speak ill of you....it hurts. yet, Jesus uses this very passage to instruct us what is expected of us from God....Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
The world we live in seems skewed from this reality. From the cable news channels that pit people against each other and call it news or from reality TV that embraces hostility and drama over healthy relationships. It is far too easy to speak ill or falsely of someone. It is far too easy to share gossip. It is far too easy to talk behind other people's backs. This is why Jesus called the gate wide and the way narrow. Living in God's commands is not easy...Yet it is rewarding. Luther's explanation of the 8th commandment to not bear false witness against your neighbor was summed up by saying: We are to speak well of our neighbors at all times, giving them the benefit of the doubt, that their actions and words are not intended for malicious activity. (translation mine). What would our world look like if this were how we went about our lives as individuals, as communities of faith, as a city, as a state, as a country?
P (PRAYER): Lord, help me to hold my tongue when necessary so that I may speak well of my neighbor at all times. In doing so, I can follow your command.