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Terrible Swede the "Earthy" Lutheran Blog vs The Largest Filipino on Earth vs "The Fluffy"
Doctrinal differences are important to the Lutherans because at the root of every false doctrine is the devil, seeking to destroy the Gospel.

Sunday, November 06, 2005 AD

Beichtspiegel - An Original Lutheran Tradition

...Although it's hard to pronounce, this word deserves to enter our English language as a German loan-word. It means "mirror for confession," and has come down through the ages of Lutheranism as a tool for pious spiritual exercise. The exercise which the Beichtspiegel serves is examining oneself before God's Ten Commandments, in order to confess one's sins to the pastor. It can also be used apart from Private Confession and Absolution, but coupled to it the Beichtspiegel leads us not only through the Law but to the Gospel, not only to a knowledge of guilt but to hearing God's forgiveness.

When he wrote his Small Catechism Martin Luther, copied what our Lord Christ does in his Sermon on the Mount (Mat. 5:21-48): he takes the commandments of God and unfolds their full meanings. The letter of each commandment is only "the tip of the iceberg" and leads us into the full weight of God's will. The Beichtspiegel takes these brief explanations of the Commandments one step further into our souls and makes us more aware than ever of our sins. But again, when coupled to Confession and Absolution this self-examination leads us through true repentance to the joy of forgiveness.

A word of advice: because many questions are given below, look over each commandment's questions quickly and choose those on which to focus. Not all will be equally helpful every time.

Thanks to my pastor for helping me with this.

The 1st Commandment: You shall have no other gods.
A. What has caused me to grow so afraid that I forget God is taking care of me?
B. Have I sinned because I feared the disapproval of others more than I feared God?
C. What sin did I realize God hates - but simply chose to do it anyway?
D. How have I been seeking to make myself happy, instead of asking what pleases God?
E. What do I insist on having and enjoying in order to be happy - because it's my god?
F. How do I seek the praise of others, instead of urging them to praise God?
G. What gifts or talents do I have in which I take undue pride?
H. What do I always count on for my success, instead of God's mercy?

The 2nd Commandment: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
A. Do I use God's holy name to express my own anger or hatred, as if he were not present?
B. Have I join in careless conversation about what God thinks and how he acts?
C. How often do I make my holy and righteous God the subject of jokes?
D. Have I told myself or other untruthfully that I am "too busy to pray"?
E. Do I get so worried that it blinds my trust in God and prevents me from asking him for help?
F. What is dear to me that I take for granted , and for which I fail to give daily thanks?
G. Do I ever finish my day complaining, as if God did not make every day good?
H. When have I been too timid to pray with others, or to help them pray?

The 3rd Commandment: You shall keep the day of rest or remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy.
A. Have I been guilty of overworking myself and abusing my mental and physical health?
B. Do I give those under me - children, workers or others - the time for rest that they need?
C. Do I take gladly the time necessary to enjoy God's creation in all its beauty and goodness?
D. Do I treat my body and mind to rest but fail to rest my soul in God's Word and prayer?
E. Have I been failing to attend the Divine Service (or Mass) of God's house?
F. Do I go to church as a heavy chore to resent, instead of as a relief from my burdens?
G. Do I make myself a judge of sermons instead of letting God's Word judge me?
H. Have I maintained a daily routine that doesn't make room for devotional reading?

The 4th Commandment: Honor your father and your mother.
A. Have I been rude or disrespectful to my parents or grandparents?
B. Have I broken any laws under which the citizens of my community?
C. Do I blame my problems on the flaws of those who have authority over me?
D. Have I join in cynical and unchristian conversations about our government, instead of thanking God for it?
E. Do I read and learn as I should in order to be an educated and active part of our democracy?
F. Have I shown ridicule for the elderly instead of thanking God for their wisdom?
G. Do I look at my parents in terms only of their flaws, instead of appreciating their virtues?
H. Have I used my authority over others - children or workers - to frighten or abuse them?

The 5th Commandment: You shall not murder.
A. Have I done deliberate physical or mental harm to someone else?
B. Have I been taking care of my own body as a gift loaned to me by God, its owner?
C. Do I dream and wish for harm that could come to my enemies?
D. Have I hurt others with my tongue by striking at them with insults?
E. Have I cultivated hatred or held onto a grudge against another person?
F. Do I show my compassion for people with physical problems by supporting their causes?
G. Do I turn a deaf ear to human suffering in the world?
H. Have I become obsessed with my own health, beauty, and comfort?

The 6th Commandment: You shall not commit adultery.
A. Do I yearn for sexual relations with anyone who is not mine by marriage?
B. Have I actually violated someone's marriage - either my own or that of others?
C. Have I used sex to glorify myself or do I take seriously my spouse's sexual needs?
D. Do I partake in pornography, lewd jokes, or wrongful fantasies?
E. Have I been overcome by vanity and pride in my sexual attractiveness?
F. Do I dress and behave in ways that tempt others?
G. Have I worked to my my spouse happy and thankful for our marriage?
H. Have I viewed my own marriage as a burden or a headache, or as a wondrous gift?

The 7th Commandment: You shall not steal.
A. Have I acquired wrongfully anything that didn't belong to me?
B. At school, home, or work, have I cheated to gain credit for what I did not accomplish?
C. Did I pay my taxes honestly?
D. Have I slacked off at the work for which I am getting paid?
E. Do I pay those who work under me what they truly need and deserve?
F. The richer I have grown, have I simply elevated my own selfish needs and desires?
G. Do I ignore charities and the cries of the needy?
H. Have I made my business decisions only to gain a material advantage over others?

The 8th Commandment: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
A. Have I spread lies about someone else to hurt their reputations?
B. Did I spread news about someone that was true, in order for others to know their sin?
C. Have I lied in order to hide the truth about my own sin?
D. Do I stand up for others, even those I don't like, when they are being attacked?
E. Did I take pleasure in someone else's shame because it made me look better?
F. Did I fail to stand up for a friend because his accusers would have turned on me?
G. Do I spend time studying others' faults instead of putting them in a positive light?
H. Have I been free to criticize and blame, but slow to offer encouragement and praise?

The 9th and 10th Commandments: You shall not covet...
A. Have I been dwelling with envy on what someone else owns?
B. Do I view my possession so poorly that I refuse to thank God for them?
C. Have I used my relationship with another as a means to enrich my possessions?
D. Have I fought with members of my family over a will?
E. Have I carried out a scheme to "sucker" a neighbor into giving me something?
F. Have I justified a greedy action by reminding myself that it was perfectly legal?
G. Do I complain about my own income and resent that received by a neighbor?
H. Do I hide good worldly advice from others in order to make myself richer than they?
I. Have I hoped for a divorce, so that someone else could become available to me?
J. Do I pray for and encourage others when their marriages are in trouble?
K. Do I compete in the business world to the point where I rejoice in others' losses?
L. Have I encouraged someone else's spouse, children, or workers to show them disrespect?

Note: There is some talk of a 10 commandments day here and here. Remember the law is universal - so much for setting a date.

Another Note: I didn't realize how strong pietism could be. I have asked many pastors why our churches no longer offer private confession and this is the usual answer.

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