First published July 16, 2010
There are, as “everyone” knows, ten commandments. Some of us even remember them, or some of them.
Don’t kill. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal.
They are pretty clear. We try to figure out the edges, of course (“I’m just borrowing it. I was planning to pay it back”) but we have a sense of what they mean and some stirrings of “That’s not right.” Taking what belongs to someone else, whether life, relationship, or stuff, isn’t fair somehow.
Don’t lie about your neighbor. Don’t spend your time wanting what your neighbor has.
They make sense, you know? I mean, how do you build community if you can’t trust the person next to you? If I don’t know that you are going to tell the truth about me, whether in court (“Your honor, I will swear on a stack of Bibles, once they are written, that my neighbor Mo wasn’t home on the night in question”) or in conversation (“Do you know what goes on in that house?”) then how can we build the relationship fabric necessary for supporting anything. And if I am constantly staring at your stuff, at your spouse, at your everything, how am I going to know that you care about me for me, not for what it gets you?
Don’t have other gods. Don’t make idols. Don’t drag God in as support for your stuff.
Though we often treat the “God’s name in vain” as swearing, it’s as much about speaking on his behalf without his support. And if God is going to be God, it makes sense to not dilute that attention.
Honor your parents.
For some people this is hard. Some parents are stupid. But I do want to be honorable.
But the sabbath? A day completely off? Isn’t that a bit too much?
I’m taking next week off. Some time at home, some time at a conference. I’ll see you on the other side.