How are we to speak about our neighbor?

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God wants us always to speak sincerely about our neighbor and in his or her best interest.

Rom. 12:9: Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cling to that which is good.

Col. 4:6: Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

This occurs when

  1. We defend our neighbor against lies, gossip, and false and exaggerated accusations.

    Prov. 31:8-9: Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

    Luther: “Therefore, if you encounter an idle tongue which betrays and slanders some one, contradict such a one promptly to his face, that he may blush; thus many a one will hold his tongue who else would bring some poor man into bad repute, from which he would not easily extricate himself. For honor and a good name are easily taken away, but not easily restored.”

  2. We sincerely speak about our neighbor’s truly good qualities and deeds, and commend him.

    1 Sam. 19:4: And Jonathon spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him: Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been theeward very good.

  3. We don’t readily believe evil about our neighbor, but put the best construction on everything. We cover up his weaknesses and mistakes, pray for him, hope for improvement and always speak the truth ourselves.

    Prov. 14:30: A sound heart is the life of the flesh; but envy the rottenness of the bones.

    1 Pet.4:8: And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves; for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

    1 Cor. 13:7: (Love)...beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

    Luther: “It is especially an excellent and noble virtue for one always to
    explain advantageously and put the best construction upon all he may
    hear of his neighbor (if it be not notoriously evil), or at any rate to
    condone it over and against the poisonous tongues that are busy wherever
    they can pry out and discover something to blame in a neighbor,

Assignment: Read James 3:5-8: Our tongue can be the cause of a great curse or a great blessing.