In today’s world there is an asinine amount of people who have taken up a mantle to persecute people and/or have a negative opinion of others and they say they are doing this in the name of God. These persecutors of people have allowed themselves to be greatly deceived. I would like to examine the mind and heart of God as presented via the Ten Commandments in order to illustrate the functionality of his commands. The things that God tells us not to do are things that are going to disrespect Him, cause us to hurt ourselves in some way or cause quantifiable damage to others (no Karen, your hurt feelings do not qualify as quantifiable damage). For instance, in order to sue someone in court you must be able to show damages in order to be awarded any sum of money. Someone has to hurt you in such a way that it resulted in you losing something or being hindered in some way. You can’t go before the judge with hurt feelings because of how you perceive or interpret someone else to be. You would be laughed out of court. God is practical. God is logical. But most of all God is loving. He doesn’t tell us not to do things for the sake of having control over us and enforcing rules. Love is truly at the heart of his commands:
- I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other Gods before me. (The common sense here is that if you are going to follow God, then follow God. Either be into following Him or not. If you are going to follow Him then the warning here to the Israelites was to not get caught up in the customs of other nations. The “other gods” were found in other nations and it was God’s desire for his people to not take on the practices of the surrounding nations i.e. child sacrifice to idols. In today’s time idols still exist and we must be careful to not put an inordinate amout of affection on the things we have i.e. our children, money, travel etc. God desires us most of all and he wants to know us personally, closely, intimately, intensely. The modern day warning here is to be sure you love God more than you love anything else so that when you stand before Him your bond will be solid and your relationship can continue into eternity.)
- You shall not make idols. (This basically references the first commandment. This would also extend into making preparations to do something God already told you not to do – idol worship.)
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (I like most of what these articles have to say on this one: https://www.crossway.org/articles/what-does-it-really-mean-to-take-the-lords-name-in-vain/ and https://www.gotquestions.org/Lords-name-vain.html This commandment has to do with the use of the name of God in ways that we really don’t have to anymore i.e. taking oaths, the priesthood and such. This can extend into such acts as getting married for example and choosing to be married before God/in the name of God. That is a vow taken before God, not just a cute ceremony. So when people don’t take the time to invite God into their marriages in a practical way and/or get divorced, for reasons other than infidelity, it’s like God’s name has been disgraced. All in all, I don’t find this commandment to have to do with cussing, using the name of the Lord in passing and things like that. I think it’s more about being respectful to the things that God stands for in the way you live your life.)
- Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. (The Sabbath Day is not something we have to observe specifically anymore. We work seven days a week and go to church on any given day of the week. This is how it is in the present day and I don’t see anything wrong with any of this. But back in the olden days God had the Sabbath in place so his people wouldn’t over work themselves (no work was allowed on the Sabbath Day) and also so His people would take special time to honor Him. God is reaching out to us to try to get us to spend time with Him.)
- Honor your father and your mother. (It’s pretty sad that this commandment even has to be stated but there have always been all kinds of people in this world. Having said that, this is the only commandment that comes with a specific promise – that things will go well for you and you will live long on the Earth. The opposite of this is pretty grim – if you dishonor your mother or father the Bible speaks of the perpetrator being put to death back in the olden days. If you ever have kids you’ll probably want them to treat you well so treating your own parents with honor is a great place to start. I get that some parents are shitty and it may not even be safe for you to be around them or associate with them. In instances such as this you can only do so much just don’t be rude to them even if they are rude to you.)
- You shall not murder. (Again it’s sad that this has to be stated. It is not a good thing for us to let ourselves be overcome with rage, envy, anger, malice and whatever other emotions a killer might harbor to the extent that said killer is willing to take a life. Many killers have a nonchalant attitude regarding the taking of a life and could care less if they kill someone on any given day. You wouldn’t want someone to kill you so let’s not kill other people.)
- You shall not commit adultery. (Many people feel like this means no sex outside of marriage. I disagree with this because there are all kinds of open relationships in the Bible. God’s kings had many wive and many concubines to whom they were not married. And lots of sex was happening and God said nothing about this. To me adultery has to do with a betrayal of trust and dishonest actions when it comes to sex. Adultery is a creepy, sneaky act that is done with underhand and dubious intentions. An open relationship is honest and done in the light, with all parties involved knowing what’s happening. The motives are completely different. So in adultery people end up getting hurt because promises were broken. I cannot see any damages in an honest and open relationship. Furthermore, when I examine the relationships of the Patriarchs (who were definitely fucking more than one woman) I see that the issues that arose between the women did not have to do with the sharing of the dick. They got mad over the honor of having children and actually receiving true love from these men. The act of sex is not the core of the matter. God judges our intentions more so than our actions. This is why only God is fit to judge.)
- You shall not steal. (Yea so how bout we don’t take shit that doesn’t belong to us? I understand what it’s like to have so little that you feel the need to reach out and nab something from someone just so you can feel like you have something of value for a moment. I get it. Then there are those who seem to derive a sense of pleasure from stealing for their own reasons, some of which seem to have mental health implications. If a thief was found in the olden days he would have to repay (I’ve read anywhere from 2X to 7X in the Bible – just depends on where you’re reading) what was stolen. The Bible also tells us that we will reap what we sow. So to steal from someone today is to steal from yourself tomorrow.)
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (AKA don’t lie!!! This commandment was of particular importance in the olden days because the word of the people within the community of Israel was all that was needed in order to condemn a person. You wouldn’t want someone to lie on you so why lie on someone else? You wouldn’t want a reputation as a liar and to close off relationships and opportunities from yourself. If you have a problem with lying then ask God to give you boldness to face the truth and possibly consider some form of mental health assistance to find out why you are running from the truth and/or find the truth to be negotiable).
- You shall not covet. (To covet means to pine away in agony over something that belongs to someone else. I think this can be accompanied with emotions of hating or disliking the person for having things that you don’t. This emotion is negative and will eat away at you and you ultimately won’t feel very happy if you allow yourself to be covetous. It is preferable to use the energy you would to covet to pray and work for what you want rather than to sit around being bitter about what someone else has that you feel you would like to have. It’s an emotional trap that I can see no value in falling in.)
Weighing in mind how practical and heart-centered God’s commandments are, it is most curious to me how people today like to use the Bible to find fault in others. We are not qualified to judge anyone, not even ourselves (saying “the Bible says you’re sinning, it’s not me saying it” – is totally being judgmental, it’s a cop out, it’s cowardice and it’s hateful people not being honest with themselves). Furthermore, this vein of thinking is hypocritical at its core. It is literally impractical to try to enforce every rule and law in the Bible on the entire world. Trying to make all 8 billion people on the planet fit into Hebrew laws and customs from over 2000 years ago just sounds ridiculous. So then at best people are picking and choosing what they want to enforce and what they don’t want to enforce. We all must stand before the Lord and be judged. It seems to me a more logical course of action would be to focus on self improvement for when our time of judgment comes rather than to try to “fix” other people in this life. It’s very easy for the devil to play on peoples’ arrogance and insecurities and get them to look down on others – this distracts them from working on themselves. You will not be able to stand before the Lord and tell him how anti-sin you were in life and be able to get into Heaven. He already told you this in Matthew 7: 21-23:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
In this excerpt Jesus is talking about people who hold themselves in high esteem and believe others or the things others do to be wrong. Jesus disagrees with this high minded perspective. Again, we are not qualified to judge ourselves or anyone else. So to all of you who want to “cast out devils” by telling anyone who doesn’t live up to your interpretation of the Bible (and it is only YOUR interpretation of the Bible) that they need to leave, change, get out etc. etc., we see how things will end for you. The life of the Believer is not to cast out others, condemn others, find fault in others and be divisive but to get close to God. We read the Bible to improve ourselves rather than to find out what’s wrong with other people. If someone does do something wrong then we pray for them with fear and trembling holding in mind the fact that we must account for our own sins one day.