Summing up the Ten Commandments

I thought I might be able to sum up the Ten Commandments in one post. That is not going to happen. It might take a couple of posts to sum up the ten commandments.

I was surprised to see how many people got the order of the ten commandments wrong. I was also shocked to see how many people got the actual commandment wrong. The fifth commandment is NOT Thou shall not commit murder.

The ten commandments were written a long time ago in a time that was different from today. No television, reporters, radio, internet, computers and fancy electronics. No google either. They were written for the Jewish people while they were out wandering in the desert. They rested before Mount Sinai and Moses went up to listen to God and record the commandments. Those commandments still apply to everyone today. They are just as relevant, just as applicable to each and everyone of us.

I found out that the ten commandments are known as the Decalogue, meaning ten words. Although the commandments each are more than one word. It also goes with “And God spoke all these words”, Exodus 20:1. I also saw that the first four commandments govern our relationship to God, while the last six concern our relationships with one another.

We all know that as humans, we need rules, laws and/or help to be accountable to each other. Unfortunately, too many people want to be free to do what they want. People want a quick fix to make themselves happy. Those who do not recognize a higher or superior being think that we are here by coincidence. Just make the best of your life and do what makes you happy. Those people are never happy and are always looking for something better, the next quick fix.

When we recognize that there is a God, things fall into place much more easily and our understanding of how we need to let God lead us, let Him govern our lives and give our love to Him, makes life better. We are then content and not always struggling to find that next fix. As a Christian, our fix is God and Jesus. That is why we need the ten commandments. That is why we need to try and follow them.

I saw that, as humans, we will never be able to obey the ten commandments completely. We will fail. As soon as you think you have one commandment down pat, another one comes up and rears its head. Then you think, wow, I didn’t think this one would come and bite me. We need to remember that we can always ask Jesus to forgive us. That is why Jesus died on the cross for us. He took all of our sins to the cross and died for us. I keep thinking, He must really love us to have done that for us. Yes, He does. God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit want to be in a loving relationship with each and every one of us. I’m not sure how they can keep all of us straight but they do.

Once you realize that, as a human being, we are not in control. We have someone who loves us beyond all reason, beyond anything we could know, and He will do right by us. As long as you can say, I love you too, Jesus. I give my life to you, you are in the best hands possible. Following the ten commandments is difficult, but I would rather follow the ten commandments than anything else.

The Ninth Commandment

The ninth commandment is “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16.

This commandment is far  broader than just dealing with the justice system. At the time, Hebrew laws were set up to treat people fairly. Apparently, the laws did not rely on just one witness. The judges tried to get two or three witnesses. However, if any one was caught not telling the truth, the punishment against the person who bore false witness was pretty strict. Some times it even led to death to the person who lied. This caught everyone’s attention and made them think twice about not being honest.

This commandment also deals with being honest. Do not lie. When you lie about someone, you are not just harming that person but you are disrespecting God. How many people are completely truthful today? We are surrounded by so many dishonest statements. How many people believe all the advertisements they see? The news media has stretched the truth so far that it snaps. What about politicians and lawyers? We have become a society of stretching the truth, as we like to think it. What can it hurt, we think.

It does hurt. Reputations of people have been destroyed within minutes. Everyone likes to hear the bad, not the good. Everyone likes to gossip. Gossiping has become the norm today. And as soon as a hurtful lie has been said about a person, it stays with them no matter how wrong it was. People remember the bad, not the good. Gaining back your good reputation is difficult.

Not only is the gossiper breaking the ninth commandment but the people who listen to the gossip are also breaking the commandment. It is so tempting to hear the juicy bad stuff. But it is wrong. I have fallen victim to listening. I try hard to say, I don’t want to hear this and I think it is wrong that you are spreading such news. The problem with saying this is that some times the gossiper then turns on you. Not an easy situation.

How about little white lies where the truth would actually hurt the person more than if you lied? For example, your friend just had her hair cut and she is absolutely thrilled with the style. You don’t really like it. What would be best? Tell her you are glad she really loves it? Tell her it looks fabulous? I think a small white lie is fine. Besides, even though it isn’t something you absolutely love, your friend does and you should not deflate her happiness. It’s just your opinion and it’s just hair. It’ll grow again.

We need to be more aware of how much we are not telling the truth. Once you start being dishonest, how easy is it to remember all the lies? The lies build one on top of the other until the truth is so far gone, you can’t even remember what the truth was. You are disrespecting God by being dishonest.

Coexist

The Coexist image is an image created by Polish, Warsaw-based graphic designer Piotr Młodożeniec in 2000 as an entry in an international art competition sponsored by the Museum on the Seam for Dialogue, Understanding and Coexistence. The original version was one of dozens of works displayed as large outdoor posters in Jerusalem in 2001. (From Wikipedia)

I keep seeing this symbol on a number of vehicles as I am driving around. My first thought was, wouldn’t that be nice, but it is unrealistic. I don’t know why that was my first thought. But I do know that living side by side with people who have different ideologies would be difficult.

Let me see if I can explain how I think this way. I am a Christian. I am not a bible thumping, better than you, Christian. Oh boy. I think I have already smashed the coexist thing. I am a Christian with faults. I have sinned and I keep sinning. So I need to pray a lot and ask for forgiveness. A lot. I try very hard to not look at the skin or outward appearance of a person. I truly value a person for their thoughts and actions. I try very hard to love my neighbor and treat others with respect. I know I fall short of that too often. Most of the time, it is unintentional. My brain has a very short attention span and so many times, I finish one thing and I jump full force into the next item on my list so that I forget that I have left someone or something very abruptly.

As a Christian, we are told to be disciples of God and to spread the good word. We are supposed to tell everyone we meet about Jesus and the love of God. I am not sure how well a Muslim would receive that message. Then I don’t know how a Jewish person would receive the news about Jesus. I already know agnostics and atheists have a low opinion of Christians and how our message is received.

Then my brain went a little further and I questioned how many different religions are there in the world? I googled that and the answer came back with 19 major religions which are divided into 270 groups. Could we fit all those religions into coexist?

If we are to coexist with our different ideologies and religions, how would we be governed? Who would decide the laws and rules of the land? I mean even as Christians there are different groups. We have the Catholics, who started it all. Then the Lutherans broke off from the Catholics because they didn’t agree with their rules. Then we have Protestants, Baptists, Methodists and so on. Right now, there is bickering going on between these groups. We also know how many horrific wars have been fought because of religion. When one sect doesn’t agree with the other, there are battles fought in the most horrible of ways. So I would like to know how it would work to coexist.

Some times, my brain works in strange ways. I will go and coexist with my cats, dogs and horse. At least they know I am the boss. Or do they let me think that?

Where is God in all of this – My Cancer Journey

I wonder about me, at times. Well, maybe all the time. I wonder about my faith. I wonder about me being a good person. I wonder where is God in all of this.

I pray but not every day. When I do pray, it is for everyone around me. I don’t pray for me. Even though I am now facing cancer, I still don’t pray for Jesus to cure me from this cancer. But I do pray that Jesus stays with me through all of this because I know I can’t do it without Him.

I seriously don’t think I have the right to ask Jesus to heal my cancer. I don’t think I have the right to ask that because I know God has a plan for me and do I have the right to alter that plan, whatever it may be? I don’t know. I struggle with this.

I pray for my friend who has just discovered she has multiple sclerosis. I pray that God is with her and helps her. I pray for my children and that God keeps them all healthy and safe. I am proud of all my children. They fill my heart with love. I pray that God keeps Bill safe and heals him. Bill has issues and he cannot handle them on his own. I did not think I could love a man as much as I love Bill.

I pray for all those who are hurting and sick. I pray for victims of disasters and storms. I pray for this world. I can’t believe how horrible we humans are to each other and animals. But when something evil happens, there are kind people who do not think of themselves and step out to help others. I am encouraged when I hear and see those reports.

My praying is sporadic. Not consistent. Not every day. Then I wonder if God hears me when I do pray. Some times it feels like He doesn’t. Although many people say that He doesn’t answer right away. His timing is perfect. Does it say that in the Bible? Where does it say that? I really struggle with that because there are times I have thought that God hates me. Why do I feel that? I don’t know. I really don’t know.

Emotional. That is what I am. I go from being certain that I will beat this cancer and everything will be fine. Then the roller coaster of emotions takes me to the very bottom where I hear the whisper of I may die from this. I let myself ride the roller coaster because, at times, it is just so draining to fight it all the time.

I do feel blessed. I have so many friends that are praying for me and thinking of me. I cry when I think about all the people I love. I feel I don’t deserve it. I look at Bill and wonder how he could love me. But I know God is with me because every once in a while I will feel His hand on my shoulder. I feel that He is there and this fills me with determination. Whatever I have to face, I know I won’t be alone. Yes, I have my husband, children and friends who are with me. But in the deepest darkest moments, God is with me.

Love Interests Interview with Sarah Grifton

This is Shelby Norstrom from the online website, Love Interests, a forum on relationship issues. We ask hard questions but provide solid answers from people who have been there. Today we are happy to introduce Sarah Grifton, lead vocalist with the very popular Christian rock band, Forever Yours. We are so happy we finally managed to catch Sarah who is in between gigs.

Hello, Sarah and thank you for being here today with Love Interests. And I love your singing voice Sarah. It has to be one of the best voices I have heard in a very long time.

Hello Shelby and thank you for the compliment. It is a pleasure for me to be here.

Sarah, can you tell me as a Christian person, how is it that you are now divorced from you husband? How are you able to reconcile being Christian and being divorced?

(Sarah sighs.) Well, for one thing, my ex left me. I did not leave him. And our marriage had not been a good one.

How do you mean your marriage was not a good one? Did it have anything to do with Bill not being a Christian?

(Sarah shakes her head.) Bill is very career oriented. Having things meant a lot to Bill. He always stressed having a high paying job and having the vacations, the big house, the cars. He thought that should be every person’s goal. You couldn’t have those things if you didn’t have a high paying job in a good company. Bill wasn’t very happy that I spent so much time with the church and then with Forever Yours.

I guess Bill didn’t know the Bible.

No, unfortunately not. At least, he kept ridiculing me and the children for going to church. He said it was a waste of time.

How did you meet Bill? I thought you were high school sweethearts.

Well, we met in high school, that’s true. At that time, it was expected to get married right out of high school. When Bill and I started dating, he didn’t want me to go to university while he was studying. (Sarah shrugs her shoulders.) I just thought that I would go to university later. All of our friends were getting married and they kept asking us when we would follow suit. I guess, it was just expected.

Was Bill a good father?

(Sarah bites on her lower lip.) He was when the children were young. But as he climbed the corporate ladder and the children got into their teens, things changed. His expectations for them grew. He kept telling them that without a business or science degree, they would not get a corporate job. He kept buying things or taking us on vacations and then saying that without a good job they could not have these things.

What did Bill think of your oldest daughter becoming an archaeologist?

(Sarah closes her eyes.) He was really angry. But then he did not see her graduate from university with her archaeology degree.

Where is Bill now?

(Sarah inhales and lets her breath out slowly.) We aren’t sure. (She hesitates.) I have tried to locate him but he is somewhere in Europe. We just aren’t certain where he is. I’m sorry, Shelby, but I just can’t go into any more of this. (Sarah gets out of her chair and leaves the stage.)