The Ten Commandments are the second thing I remember learning, after the books of the Bible, in my early Sunday school years. They seemed fairly simple when I was seven, but they became more complicated the older I grew.
Don’t kill-what if I wish that the school bully were to die?Don’t covet-what if I really wanted that piece of land my dad left to my younger sister?Don’t lie-what if it’s only to keep from getting into trouble?Don’t swear-not even when I fall and dislocate my shoulder?Don’t commit adultery-does looking count?Keep the Sabbath-easy enough until the kids’ hockey schedule was changed.Honour your parents-even when their attitudes and actions don’t reflect my values?
The first three commandments, dealing with our relationship with God, have always been easier-worship only God, honour only God. The next five really test us because they are all about our relationships with other people. The last two commandments speak to our private thoughts. How can ten rules that seemed so easy when I was seven now make me second guess myself at practically every turn.
Perhaps Martin Luther’s explanation was the simplest, “We should fear and love God.” I can do that!
God, you gave us rules to live by but gave us the right to choose. Help me to choose wisely. Amen. — BG