“Let us not give into pessimism and discouragement.”
People think of God’s Commandments solely as the ultimate ‘thou shalt not’ experience. They ignore the positive applications of the Decalogue. Civilizations and individuals suffer when the Divine will is ignored, watered down or followed half heartedly. The end result is always the same; emotional, spiritual, intellectual and bodily starvation. Zeal for the Kingdom is the only way to go.
I. I am the Lord. You shall worship the Lord your God
and Him only shall you serve.
God is good. Everything of God reflects His/Her goodness. Genesis 1:31 and other books of the Bible hails Our Creator’s infinite goodness. With the advent of sin good can be twisted into evil whenever it replaces the Creator as the center of existence for corporeal entities. God isn’t an egotist. God loves us and knows we’re weak. We fail to serve our Creator when money, power, sex, ‘stuff’ is worshiped instead of the Person, Who fashioned them into existence. When we cheat God out of His/Her rightful honor, our selfishness makes us suffer. We become self-centered, blind to the needs of others, and closed in upon ourselves. We ignore the needs of our significant other, our family, friends, colleagues, and become prejudice towards those different from ourselves. We stop caring for God, family, friends, our profession never serving them as we should when God is dethroned in our lives. Our work becomes an unholy quest for the paycheck and not for the benefit of society. Sex becomes self centered lust blinding us to the needs of our partner and stunts our emotional growth. Eating becomes gluttony. Ambition turns into envy and instead of wishing health and success to those more fortunate than ourselves we have a tendency to wish them harm for having more ‘stuff’ than we do. These are manifestations of false pride or vanity, the ‘sin of the angels.’ In time frustrations beat us down and we become lonely.
Reader think of the good things God has given you throughout your life…decent health, your significant other, good family, loyal friends, your profession, a nice place to live in, a bank account, good food, religious freedom and your inimitable faculties as a human being. Dogs make the best pets but can Fido play the piano, surf the Internet, cook, and take yoga classes? You can. The computer is a marvelous and essential tool but it can’t move, think or have being on its own; you can. Your uniqueness as a sentient being makes all these possible. Praise our magnanimous God for your many gifts; Reader give glory to God!
II. You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.
When I was a kid growing up ‘back in the day’ the 1950’s one of the horror stories the nuns told us was how Momma Mary punished an entire town for blasphemy, profanity of the worst sort. The people of the little French town of La Salette were a depraved bunch. They were addicted to profanity. They vilely cursed our Lord, His Mother, the angels and saints horribly. God’s name is holy and should only be used to communicate with or to honor the good God and His/Her people.
Americans seldom blaspheme; we cuss – big difference. Our everyday speech is laced with nasty language. The use of the word mother compounded with the universal slang word for sexing is popular though the misuse of the Holy Name of Jesus is common place. The purpose of speech is for personal/societal enrichment and communication. Swearing limits our vocabulary, cheapens language, degrades people and sounds bad. If you feel you must swear do it behind closed doors. A persons’ self-esteem suffers when they use language best left scribbled on a porta-potty’s walls; why pollute the airwaves with vile language?
III. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
Simply put get off your lazy butt and take yourself to church on Sundays and holy days. Honoring the Sabbath a general requirement for the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam; church is good for you. When we honor the Lord’s Day we’re thanking God for life, favors received, sorrows averted, special graces needed, and strength to deal with life’s unpleasant surprises plus develop a sense of community with other believers. Public worship prepares us to receive greater gifts from God. Reader you’re not setting God up but giving the Lord proper respect and that you’re open for additional blessings.
Getting out of bed on a cold day when your body craves sleep to go to church serves to discipline the will and strengthen our bodies. Considering all that God has given you how is 45 minutes a Sunday going to hurt?
IV. Honor your parents.
“Look you old b**** get yo’ hands d*** off me!” The 7th grade girl slapped her mother so hard the old woman hit the floor with a loud thud. It was Open House; Report Card day at the school. Not satisfied with her daughter’s performance she playfully slapped her and chided her to do better next time only to be slapped and knocked to the floor by her irate daughter! Reader this incident actually happened at a school I was working at. I was in the adjoining building conferring with my own set of parents and students handing out report cards and talking with parents. I learned of the incident as I was swiping or signing out that evening.
When I was a child ‘going-off’ on parents wasn’t done. Coming from a single parent home Mom would kick our butts if we even dreamt of getting out of line. Today’s young people could use a healthy dose of ‘old school’ parenting. Reader when you obey the law you are doing God’s will. The benefits are enormous; you’ll keep your job, won’t go to prison, the cops won’t rough you up, you’ll avoid hefty fines, and you’d avoid costly divorce attorneys. Acknowledge and fulfill all responsibilities you have been given and lead by example those entrusted to you. Next edition we’ll conclude our Lenten-Easter series when we analyze the remaining Commandments. Till then may God bless you. Love your family and drive carefully. Happy Easter!