|Posted on November 16, 2020 at 8:25 AM|
What do the Ten Commandments mean to you?
Today I’m going to start a series of blogs which are a little different from my usual offering. I feel a call to personally review the Ten Commandments and how well I am obeying them, so over the next several weeks I will cover each one in detail for myself as well as for you. However, I reserve the right to intersperse other topics in between the commandments when I feel a call to do that!
The Ten Commandments were given by God to Moses thousands of year ago – it has been estimated that this occurred around 1450-1440 BC. These commandments were a guide for the Israelites on how to live, and they apply equally to us today. The commandments are spelled out in Old Testament Scripture in Exodus 20:2-17 and again in Deuteronomy 5:6-21. Later, Jesus reiterated the importance of these commandments when he repeated them in the Gospels (Matthew 19:18-19 and Mark 10:19).
There are a few different versions of the Ten Commandments, but I will follow the traditional Catechetical formula which is here:
1. I am the Lord your God: You shall not have strange gods before me.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
Jesus also summarized these commandments for us. When a Pharisee asked Him which is the greatest commandment, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39) These two “modified” commandments summarize the spirit of the entire Old Testament.
The Catechism groups the Ten Commandments into two parts. The first three commandments relate to the summary commandment to love God, and the final seven relate to the summary commandment to love our neighbor. So as I understand it, to love God and to love our neighbor is all we need to do to live as healthy Christians!
Ah, if only it were that easy…..
When I first learned the Ten Commandments as a child, it was easy for me to gloss over them and think that, well of course, I honor all ten. But when I began to look deeper at each commandment during my adult life, I found that it is not as cut-and-dried as I thought. If you have ever looked at a detailed list of questions from an examination of conscience, or read sections 2052 through 2550 from the Catechism, you will understand what I mean. There are many nuances to each of these commandments, and if we are not careful we may easily be fooled into thinking that we don’t break them when in fact we do, and on a regular basis.
In the coming weeks I will address each commandment individually, recording some information about each commandment (such as discussions from the Catechism and questions from the examination of conscience) and I will add my own thoughts and experiences. But I want to let you know that some of the content I will post may rankle some of you, and you may disagree with my comments. That’s okay! My hope is that you will learn something that you were not aware of previously, and that you may be prompted to ponder a bit about how you think and act in relation to God’s commands. I will welcome comments from you, and if you’d like to discuss anything with me further, I’d love to do so.
As we proceed toward the celebrations of Thanksgiving and Christmas, may you find blessings in your preparations!
Have a blessed Monday!
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