Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Commandment Keeping

For some folks, the Ten Commandments (and all the others) "have" to be followed without question. They are the core of how folks are to live; they are the law; they are the instruments by which we determine who are the really good people, and who are the rotten scoundrels.

For others, the commandments are sort of a moral code which, while not absolute, gives us some guidance on how we should live. Recognizing the times and context in which these 'laws' were first written, and taking into account when and were folks live today, there is a lot of latitude taken in following them.

Yet, for Jesus, keeping the commandments was an act of love! (John 14:15). Not an act of unquestioning obedience; not a philosophical pondering of the relevance of the commandments for ourselves and our times; no, simply the natural result of a life which loves Christ.

Which really shoudn't surprise us. After all, how better to understand and live out the commandment not to kill, then loving the One who taught us to relate to other people, including our enemies? How could we dare to covet all that our neighbor has when we love the One who teaches us to give all that we have and are in service to others? How could we fail to love God with all our heart, our mind, our strength, our soul when Jesus shows us the sort of life we can have through such love? How can we not love our neighbors (and ourselves) when Jesus sees the neighbor in everyone he meets (including us), when Jesus is the neighbor to everyone he meets (including us), when Jesus us loves us more than we can ever love ourselves?

If it is an act of love which leads to a lifetime of giving and receiving love, how can I not want to keep the commandments?

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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