Friday, October 21, 2011

God's commandments

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy." And then the Lord gave ten commandments for the people to follow. Leviticus 19:1-2

Over the years, the commandments have picked up a bad reputation with some, fueled by those who would impose them on others, or who seem to delight in punishing lawbreakers. But the text does not show the commandments given by these lesser authorities, but by God.

And you might simply take them as guidelines for good behavior. We don't need a heavenly enforcer to know that killing, stealing, jealousy, failure to rest, and disrespect to others eventually leads to bad results. Violate them and you violate the conditions of personal and social health, to your peril.

But look back to the way God gives the commandments: not to keep people in line, but out of God's desire that we share in the holiness, the righteousness, the goodness that is God's very nature. "You shall be holy..." God wants us to imitate the goodness that is God's desire for us.

That's freeing, compared to the endless chain of bad stuff that follows from going counter to the Way given by God.
 

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