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    Speculation and Keeping the Ninth Commandment

    April 30, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    Q. 76. Which is the ninth commandment?
    A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

    Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
    A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness-bearing.

    Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
    A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own, or our neighbor’s, good name.

    Westminster Shorter Catechism

    One of the least-discussed aspects of homeschooling is, I think, the sanctification of the parents which ensues. I have only seen two books that I can think of that discuss this, but I don’t believe my own experiences so far are really all that unique. As children, the faith is handed down to us {if we are from Christian homes} and then, as parents, we are the ones doing the handing down. There is so much focus on the impact this has on children that I think we forget that the parents are being forced to review, relearn, and revisit the fundamentals of the faith. They, rather than asking the hard questions, are now the ones being asked.

    This is a terrifying, yet fortifying experience. I have been blessed with at least one child who didn’t wait until the logic stage to start asking difficult questions.

    I had one of those moments last week when we were studying the Ninth Commandment. Every Thursday we study a simplified version of the shorter catechism using Big Truths for Little Kids. This particular lesson impacted me because of the simple story the author had used to illustrate the point.

    Suffice it to say that three little boys are competing against one another for a prize. When one little boy looks like he’s really going to win, one of the remaining two half-jokingly mentions he must be cheating. The third little boy takes this seriously, and circumstances lead to a rumor flying through their church over the issue.

    Later in the day, one of my own children came to me with something wrong, I don’t remember what. The child explained that So-and-So did this. The day’s lesson reminded me to ask, How do you know? And I was shocked to learn that the child had just assumed this was true because it seemed like something So-and-So would do. It turned out that there was another explanation for the situation, and I had to explain to the child about how the child’s speculation had been wrong and actually a breaking of the Ninth Commandment which we had learned about that day.

    And then I began to catch myself breaking the same.

    I kid you not, I cannot believe how much I speculate! Part of it is the conspiracy theorist in me. Part of it is assuming the worst about others more often than I realized. Part of it is assuming that someone else sins in the way that I do {and so I read myself into the situation and make assumptions based on that}.

    When my husband and I were discussing a situation the day after this study, I remember that I started to say, “I bet So-and-So did…” I sounded just like my child.


    Suddenly, I realize I’m just as bad as the little children I’ve been correcting.

    This is good, healthy sanctification. Now we have a bit of a joke around here, teasing each other about speculating when we really don’t know the situation. And it’s a wonderful joke to have, for it helps us realize the limits of our own knowledge and insight.

    And when it comes to speculating about politicians, well…they do enough wrong without adding lies to the matter. There is no need to break a commandment, for they will condemn themselves in due time.

    Or maybe I’m just speculating.

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    1 Comment

  • Reply Mystie May 1, 2009 at 3:35 am

    “Part of it is assuming that someone else sins in the way that I do (and so I read myself into the situation and make assumptions based on that).”

    Wow. You really hit the nail on the head there. I think we all do this way more than we realize.

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