The 8th Commandment

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:15

How often have you thought this commandment was fairly straightforward? Don’t spread gossip about your neighbor and don’t lie. Most people would say, they don’t lie, but would most say they don’t get involved in gossip?

The 8th commandment is actually much more than what not to do (lie) but rather, what to do, tell and live the truth.

“So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” John 18:37

We are called to adhere to this commandment by speaking the Truth, and that Truth is that Jesus is our Lord, our God and our Savior. To deny this statement, is to deny the Truth, violating this commandment. Not only must we speak the Truth about Jesus, we must live it too. We must strive to live the truth as well as speak it. Our actions and are deeds should be shaped by the Truth. In all societies, we respect truthfulness and we rely on truth in our dealings. Life is hard when there is rampant distrust. As good Catholics, we must strive for living the Truth to testify to it.

If you do not bear truthfulness, in grave situations, you violate the truth to a greater degree. When you deny the Truth of the Lord, you rob someone of hearing the truth that saves.

Regarding every day matters, I hope it is obvious that truthfulness must have discretion. Not all truth must be shared. In many cases, the truth would only harm and in those instances, it is not necessary to speak the truth. If you know something embarrassing that happened, you are not obliged to share that truth or imagine you are at a dinner party, and the host asks how are the meatballs, it is not appropriate to tell him they are dry and tasteless.

Rash judgement also speaks to the truth. When someone gives you their opinion, its best to assume the best and ask for clarification if it differs. Often, many people speak from their heart about some touchy subjects and its important to try and understand their rationale, even if you disagree. How much better would any political or religious discussion be if you assumed that the person’s heart was in the right place, even if he or she is wrong?

Identifying objections to another’s faults, without purpose also violates the truth. Constructive criticism is important, but if it is delivered only to harm, then it does not align with truth. Silence and or discretion should be sought to protect others.

Truth that is scandalous should also be avoided in sharing. When you are taken into confidence about a sensitive subject, that confidant’s subject should end with you. How easy would it be to then take another into that same confidence? For example, “I’m going to tell you something I heard, but you can’t repeat it…” often a recipe for disaster.

I’m often told that in life you just need to be a nice person and if you are a nice person, you don’t need a Church or a religion. The 8th Commandment might seem obvious and that nice people know it, but I don’t know of one person in this world that has mastered the 8th Commandment (me included). I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t benefit in their life from the Church instructing oneself to the 8th Commandment.

The Church calls us to live a better more truthful life. We strive to adhere to this life as the Bible prescribes and the Church teaches. Happy learning!

God Bless!

Suffering

I understand that suffering for my loved ones is noble and good and rewarding.  For instance, my daughter will often cry out for me in the middle of the night because she’s had a bad dream.  I get up, go in to her bedroom, adjust her blanket and sometimes get her water.  I do and don’t love doing this for her.  I typically wake up early to go for a morning run and its harder for me when she wakes me up an hour or two before I need to get out of bed.  Still, she needs me and I like that she needs me and that I can comfort her.  It’s suffering but it’s also good.

For me, this type of suffering is good and noble and I understand it.  There are countless other sufferings I do for others, such as the dishes, or at work when I try and help another with a project or a deal.  I like helping even if its hard.

I even can understand suffering when its volunteering with the Knights of Columbus.  I know I’m helping and there’s a gratification with that help.

Obviously, if I’m only doing suffering for rewards and accolades, my heart is in the wrong place, even if the work is still good.  There are times when I try and secretly do good works for others or I don’t let others know of my trails.

I really try my best to act righteously with my good works through suffering.

(I hope I’m not even trying to convince you I’m a good person here, I’m just trying to put my thoughts down on how suffering is good).

Once in my career, I knew God was putting me through a trial.

I came across this quote that I felt was appropriate from St Thomas More: “Every tribulation whichever comes our way either is sent to be medicinal, if we will take it as such, or may become medicinal, if we make it such, or is better than medicinal, unless we forsake it.”

I was sitting in my car, about to go into work, and knew I was going to be publicly humiliated today.  A deal had gone wrong and my boss was set to make an example of me.  I wasn’t being fired, just ridiculed and my career was to take a hit.  The punishment was not just, in my opinion.  Had I made mistakes, yes, but had others made much greater mistakes – yes.  I also felt, truly, the buck didn’t stop with me, but my boss wasn’t going to take the bullet, so I was going to take the fall.

I didn’t want to go in to work.  I sat in my car wondering how this suffering was to help.  How was me being publicly humiliated going to help me and my faith?  Why must I suffer?  What must I learn from this suffering?  I felt I had learned the lessons of my mistakes from the deal gone wrong and knew I was better for it.  So why must I know be publicly shamed?

I started to pray the Rosary and it was the sorrowful mysteries.  The first decade is dedicated to Jesus’ agony in the Garden.  He knew he was to be shortly turned over and crucified.  He didn’t want to go but He must suffer for us.

In a small way, I felt I was in the Garden.  Certainly not to the extent of Jesus, who’s suffering was greater and was without sin, but I felt closer to Him then before.

On the next decade, I was to contemplate the scourging at the pillar.   I could hear His cries!  Next, was the crowning of the thorns and then his carrying of the cross and I could see Him in my mind, bearing the pain for me.  Finally, He was crucified.

Later, I prayed the Our Father for each of His five wounds, two on each hand and foot and one on His side.

Why must I suffer?  On that day, I was to suffer to have a greater appreciation for His suffering for us.  Even though I suffer, He Love me and His promise of salvation.  While my suffering didn’t help anyone that day, it helped me.  I felt closer to His love and only when I understand His love better can I love better.  I’m loved, you’re loved, thanks be to God!