The Best Construction on Everything

Good article about something new in the world. But also about something real old. The 8th (9th for you Calvinists) commandment says don’t bear false witness against your neighbor. The rub always comes when we ask who is our neighbor and what does false witness mean. Luther, like Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, finds not just the negative force (don’t lie about your neighbor) but also a positive force (“defend him, speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything”). The Satire of Deception quote, the “quote that reveals what we all know to be true” even though it itself is fake, is the perfect negation of that positive force. I am going to put the worst meaning on my neighbors words and life and use that to beat him and leave him by the roadside. The fact that our politics have been reduced to this testifies against us.

Neighborhood Watch


Biblical Text: Luke 10:25-37
Full Sermon Draft

I am constantly amazed at how the perfect text seems to appear to match external circumstances. What are the odds that the one time in three years that you read the Good Samaritan with its question of “Who is my neighbor?” would appear at exactly the same time as a verdict in a trial of a Neighborhood watch. A trial which is really about answering that question – who is the neighbor?

This is one of those sermons that stands as piece. It is a meditation on the gospel scene of a lawyer and Jesus with our lives woven in between the lines.

Here is the conclusion, but if you’ve got 12 minutes, give the entire thing a read or a listen. I’m pretty sure that none of the 24 hour news commentary has this.

The law can’t do anything about our refusal to see our neighbor. The law leaves a dead 17 year old and a man whose life has been beaten and robbed and left out in the open of the public square. If we insist on the law – what must I do – that is what we get. But Jesus, by being a neighbor to us first, has shown us a better way. A way of grace and mercy. Go and love likewise, as you have first been loved. Amen