Dear Friends through Christ:
Everybody has the same God. We may not believe in the same God, but we all have the same God!
We learned last month that all the different religions of the world have no problem whatsoever with the Ten Commandments given to the Hebrew people by their God. Actually, most religions have their own versions of similar teachings. So, if these commandments are universally accepted instructions for humanity to live by, I figured it would be a good idea if they were written on the doorpost of our hearts. The Ten Commandments are God’s attempt to organize a bunch of misfits in a world that has gone nuts.
The last newsletter, we made it through the first four.
1. I am the Lord your God.
2. You shall have no other gods before me, nor shall you worship or serve any thing more than God.
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy.
That is where I left off last month, “Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy.” Folks if the trend continues, with fewer and fewer keeping this command, Christ’s church will struggle, and the balance of God’s commands will be broken at an alarming rate.
Honor your father and your mother.
Honor can conjure up a few definitions. For example, “It is an honor to be here today.” Or “We show honor to our veterans on Memorial Day.” Yet within Scripture, honor carries the meaning, “to fulfill an obligation or keep an agreement.” Your father and your mother brought you into this world. They should feed you and clothed you. They should teach you and set you on a path. Your responsibility is to show respect and make certain they are taken care of, when they no longer can take care of themselves. Just like they did for you. Tit for tat. Some have argued their mother or father did not do a good job at being parents, but our parents’ actions have little to do with God’s command to us.
You shall not murder.
The Hebrew word used is “tirsah,” which carries the meaning of murder, not kill. Yes, all murder involves killing, but not all killings are considered murders. See where confusion might set in? What about capital punishment, abortion, war, self-defense? But in this command, murder represents an unlawful killing. Life is considered precious by biblical teachings and the taking of an innocent life would result in losing that right to live. Did you know there are multiple passages found in Scripture where God expressly commands to kill rebellious people? God is a God of justice! However, we are not God! And whether it is “kill” or “murder,” the act of taking a life will always cause God grief and disrupt creation.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
Human beings are not created to be alone. Loneliness is the one thing in the “garden of paradise” that is not good. Every human being needs a partner, a helper in order to fulfill their purpose of being fruitful in this world. Adam and the mother of all living, Eve, become one-flesh. “Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” To break this bond disrupts everything around them, and once again the ground creature is found alone—not good. However, this adultery includes more than just a sexual act, although it is one of the more popular methods of destroy relationships. Over and over in Scripture, the nations of Israel and Judah were considered the “bride” of God, and over and over they commit adultery with “false gods.” Adultery is an act of treating your partner, helper, husband, wife, your God, as something less than you.
8. You shall not steal.
Stealing seems to be the very first command engraved into the minds of most human beings, in all cultures, at a very early age. “If it is not yours, don’t take it.” Such a simple command triggering so much of the chaos we see today. We can paint a picture in our mind of Adam and Eve in the garden, reaching out their hands to take, not understanding God has given everything we need. If it is not yours, don’t take it!
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Bearing false witness is the easiest and fastest way to hurt or punish another. Of course, humanity will use this effective form of the word to destroy individuals, families; even nations. Why? Because it is so easy. A false witness is simply a true coward.
10. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.
The command in its entirety reads, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” The Catholics and Protestants separate these coveting commands into two, while the Jewish, Baptist, most non-denominational combine the two, forming the tenth and final command. I prefer the Jewish understanding.
Covet means to be consumed with desire, to long for, yearn for, hunger after, thirst for something, anything that is your neighbor’s. The breaking of this covet command is what prevents a person from enjoying the life they have right now. Why? Because their mind is always wanting what they do not have. It is hard to be happy, if we are always wanting more—coveting.
So, there you have it! Ten rather simple, or not so simple teachings to organize a bunch of misfits in a world gone nuts. Commands given for humanity’s benefit and given out of Love, to all religions. We live in a beautiful nation, with so much potential. Our makeup is not so different than the Hebrew slaves coming out of Egypt. We claim to want a better world, so imagine what would happen if we actually began to listen to the prophets of old, putting God’s commands back into a Godly nation and writing them on the doorpost of our heart? After all, everybody has the same God. We may not believe in the Same God, but we have the Same God.
In Christian Love, Pastor David Trexler