Tuesday, February 4, 2014

In Your Eyes

NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) Theme for February 2014: Perspective

Prompt for 4 February: Do you think it's possible to ever truly see the world from another person's perspective, or are we held so tightly to our own way of viewing the world?

No.

I think we each have motivations, experiences, understandings, misunderstandings, confusions, intentions, frustrations, and desires that are unique to us. While there may indeed be nothing new under the sun, we are all slightly different.

This isn't to say we're all special little snowflakes. It is that we are all very different, even in the ways we are same.

No one has my same history. No one has my same thought processes. No one approaches things the way I do.

Because this is true not just for me, but also for everyone else, we need (NEED) a way to approach each other with compassion, even in judgment and structure.

Thus the need for the 8th commandment: Thou shall not bear false witness.

Don't lie about your neighbor. Don't spread gossip- true or untrue. Don't turn a blind eye to what your neighbor is doing that hurts others, either.

Luther wrote regarding the 8th commandment: Thus in our relations with one another all of us should veil whatever is dishonorable and weak in our neighbors, and do whatever we can to serve, assist, and promote their good name. On the other hand, we should prevent everything that may contribute to their disgrace, It is a particularly fine, noble virtue to put the best construction on all we may hear about our neighbors (as long as it is not an evil that is publicly known), and to defend them against the poisonous tongues of those who are busily trying to pry out and pounce on something to criticize in their neighbor, misconstruing and twisting things in the worst way. 

Let me summarize that. We are to think the best of our neighbor. We attribute the best motivations to them. We pray for them in their struggles. We do not start, listen to, or spread misinformation about them. 

We can never see the world from someone else's perspective. Thus we ask the Spirit to help us see them from Christ's perspective. 

1 comment:

Nik said...

9th Comm for us 'Reformed' types :D
Johnny Calvin talked of this in connection with loving one's neighbour - we can't love our neighbour if we are bearing false witness/ gossiping/ or sniping behind their backs... he notes:

'this commandment is lawfully observed when our tongue, in declaring the truth, serves both the good repute and the advantage of our neighbours ... For as a good name is more precious than all riches [Prov. 22: 1], we harm a man more by despoiling him of the integrity of his name than by taking away his possessions.'

Apart from the understanding that words actually *do* wound and that names can in fact hurt us, I love the concept behind this:
rather than not just bearing false witness [or murdering, or coveting] you are to do all in your power to preserve the reputation of your neighbour...
or in the case of murder - to do all you can to ensure the health and wellbeing and ongoing preservation of your neighbour. It flips the thing around from a negative 'thou shall not', in a sense, to a 'this, then, is what you *shall* do'