Post by Pastor Tim – During the month of December, the DOTW Discipleship Family takes time to reflect on how the Lord has worked in our lives and how we have responded to that working. Last week I reflected on a helpful memorization tool, but this week I wanted to reflect on a tool that helps us to better understand and use the Ten Commandments.
Early in 2013, I came across the Beichtspiegel . . . or in case you get a little tongue-tied, you can simply call it the “Confessional Mirror.” In short, this document was taken from The Brotherhood Prayer Book, and it is full of explanations, questions and reflections on The Ten Commandments. It’s based off of the Lutheran numbering of the Ten Commandments, but it’s not that hard to figure out if you follow the ordering found in other parts of the Christian communion.
I have recited the Ten Commandments all year, both as a part of DOTW and as a part of the 100 Days of Worship with the NK Underground Church. But I’ve found that it’s easy to recite them without taking the time to properly think about them. The Beichtspiegel has essentially helped me to use the Ten Commandments as a mirror into my own heart and has prompted me to respond to the commandments with confession and repentance.
A great example of this is the third commandment which says, “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Ex. 20:7)” This has been an easy commandment for me to skip over, because as long as I haven’t sworn by taking the Lord’s name in vain, then I’m all set . . . right? The Beichtspiegel rightly challenged my assumption by saying,
When the precious Name of Jesus is not used rightly, it is misused. Have I properly called on my heavenly Father through His only Son Jesus Christ and had faith that He hears and answers my prayer? Have I called on His Name wrongly through false worship? Have I desired to find salvation in any other name, but the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Have I wished that there were other paths to God outside of Christ, perhaps for the sake of others?
Another great example is what it says about the ninth commandment, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor (Ex. 20:16).” I’ve been tempted to think that as long as I haven’t lied about my neighbor then I haven’t broken this commandment. The Beichtspiegel again challenged my assumptions by saying,
Have I celebrated upon hearing hurtful news (about my neighbor)? Have I defended the reputation and feelings of my neighbor even when I do not like him? Do I look for the bad in someone instead of seeing good? Have I explained all things in a way that is complimentary to my neighbor? Have I lied to harm someone? Have I lied to help someone?
The Beichtspiegel is good in that it gives us a concrete way to enter into reflection and confession. And if you’re like me, you’ll end up saying things like, “wow,” “ouch” or “I never thought about it that way before.”