The Eighth Commandment

A couple of weeks ago during our Elder’s meeting, we were reading what Luther wrote regarding the Eighth Commandment in his Large Catechism. Below is a great quote talking about sin and gossip.

Therefore, in order to avoid such habitual sinning with the tongue, we should note that no one has authority publicly to judge and reprove his neighbor, not even if he has seen him commit a sin, unless he has specifically been given the authority to judge and reprove. For there is indeed a great difference between these two: judging a sin and knowing about a sin. Knowing about a sin does not involve the right to sit in judgment on it. I am of course able to see and hear my neighbor sinning, but I have no business reporting it all around town. If I poke my nose in and judge and condemn, then I fall into a worse sin than his. So when you get to know about a sin, let your ear become its grave and shovel the dirt in on top of it and do not resurrect it until the day you are appointed judge and thus have the duty to administer punishment by virtue of your office.

It’s a very good quote. All too often, we are quick to start the rumor mill about so-and-so and what they’re doing (or not doing). I wonder what we would be like if we did as Luther said and just bury all that we hear regarding a person’s sin and not spread the gossip fire…

*The above was quoted from Luther’s Large Catechism, p. 55*