A recent debate got me thinking about the human responses to the 10 commandments versus God’s intent behind them. So here goes…
1. You shall have no other gods before me. (Exod 20:3)
- Man blames God for not answering in time. (Exod 32:1)
- God says, your heart is not right. (Psalm 73:26)
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (Exod 20:7)
- Man says it’s only words.
- God says the tongue can bring life or death. (Prov 18:21)
3. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Exod 20:8)
- Man gets legalistic and offended even when Jesus healed on the Sabbath. (Luke 13:14)
- Jesus calls them hypocrites. (Luke 13:15)
4. Honor your father and your mother (Exod 20:12)
- Man blames the parent for being not worthy of their love.
- God says that anyone can love and respect those who are kind to them, but we are called to even love those who mistreat us. (Matt 5:43-48)
5. You shall not murder (Exod 20:13)
- Man says the problem is too many weapons
- God says love your neighbor (Mark 12:31) – more on this one later
6. You shall not commit adultery (Exod 20:14)
- Man makes all kinds of excuses for sex outside of marriage.
- God says marriage is for one man and one woman and sex is ONLY in that relationship. (Gen 2)
7. You shall not steal (Exod 20:15)
- Man blames society for putting them down and keeping them down.
- God says we should care for the poor.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor (Exod 20:16)
- Man is sue happy (especially in this culture) and is willing to win a battle even if they have to lie or defame the other person.
- God says relationship is most important (1 Cor 6:1-11)
9&10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s (house, wife, things, etc) (Exod 20:17)
- Man says it’s not fair that he has that and I don’t and besides, it’s not a crime to covet.
- God says the coveting desire is a path to other sins.
Now Jesus came and made it even more simple… In Mark 12:28-34 he responds to an attempted trap (what is the greatest commandment – somehow reducing the value of another) and he pointed out that ALL 10 of these can be accomplished by ONE word… LOVE. He said “love the Lord your God with all your heart and … love your neighbor as yourself” (v 29-31).
So when it comes to getting our society to line up more with the purpose behind the 10 commandments, the solution is not more laws, not more controls, not more structure… it’s more love. It really IS that simple.