As a Lutheran teacher, I am blessed with the opportunity to use the 10 commandments as a part of my classroom management strategies. When we learn about the commandments, we learn that they come with law, but that they also come with a gift. The eighth commandment states that we shall not give false testimony against our neighbors. We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him or give him a bad name, but defend him, speak well of him and take his words and actions in the kindest possible way.
That is where the gift of eighth commandment comes into play. In the same way that we put rules into our classroom for safety reasons, God gives us rules as well. He doesn't give us those rules to hurt us. All of the commandments come with a gift, and the eighth commandment comes with the gift of a good name. As I teach my students, I tell them that one of the worst things they can do is tell me a lie. When they lie to me, it becomes more difficult for me trust them. This leads me to question the way that they treat their friends and myself.
Why do we lie? Lying can get us out of awkward situations. It can spare the feelings of others. It can preserve or strengthen alliances. It can enhance our social standings. It can keep us out of trouble. It can even save our lies. I always feel for the young students that feel the need to lie to me at a such a young age. Little kids don't tend to lie like adults do. We often learn to lie as a defense mechanism to protect ourselves. Therefore, when I have a student that lies to me as such a young age, it usually means they have learned to do this because they were afraid of the truth. It takes time, care, and love to break them of that habit and learn that when they tell me the truth, the consequence will not be as great.
How have you used the gift of the eighth commandment recently?
Slater, S. (2013). Why do we lie? Retrieved from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-dolphin-divide/201309/why-do-we-lie