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8th Commandment - Reputation - Online Activity

Catechism Moment

8th Commandment 

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about your neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.

Truthfully speaking about other people is not license to be uncharitable. As Christians we should not use our speech, tweets, Facebook shares, and instagram comments to degrade and denigrate the reputation of others.

When Christians speak or post online about another person, our words need to be trustworthy and respectful of others. When falsehoods and half-truths are shared about people or worldly issues, we make ourselves less believable when we seek to share the truth of the good news of the kingdom of heaven.

Slandering other people by rushing to judgment, complaining about them, or spreading rumors is contrary to the Eighth Commandment. There are better things to talk about besides the faults and possible misdeeds of other people. Building one another up in love and deed does not happen by pushing other people down.

Recently, there was an older white man that assaulted some teenagers on a bike path. The police did not have a suspect and asked for help. The initial request for help listed the wrong date of the assault. People tried to match online fitness app mapping data with the time and date of the assault. Social vigilantism set in and a man was falsely accused online with the crime. New York Magazine published an interesting article, "What It's Like to Get Doxed for Taking a Bike Ride," about how this man's reputation online was abused because people rushed to judgment and falsely accused him of the crime.

The article provides a real world example about how spreading falsehoods and rushing to judgment is hard to roll back. Lies and deceit spread like toxic ooze in a community. Christians must be honor the truth and seek to be charitable to other people.

Posted by Evan Gaertner