Ten Commandments

Ten Commandments

Arthur Hartwig

I commend Fr Byrnes on his Reflection (December/January AD2000) but I think he does not go back far enough.

One difficulty is with the English word "love", which covers everything from the perfect, eternal love shown by God for His creation to the inane "I love fairy floss".

Love is not an emotion but a decision, a decision to place others before self, and to seek what is "best" for the beloved.

So, to the background of freedom from "slavery" (of whatever type, whether addiction, habit or oppression) the Commandment is for the Israelites to love with all their heart, soul and might, the Lord their God who has brought them and brings us out of "Egypt". With such love motivating us we become people in whom obedience to and fulfilment of the Ten Commandments is second nature. We wish to please Him.

To try to illustrate: I might say to a child, "Keep your fingers away from the fire or you will be burned." Alternatively, "If you keep your finger away from the fire, you will not get burned."

As a consequence of loving God with all our heart, mind and soul, we do not have other gods, do not covet, lie, murder, or commit adultery. Sure, these are laws to be obeyed. They are also promises to be claimed. They are also, and perhaps more importantly, natural outcomes or results of that love.

So, Christianity is simple but never easy. Some claim it has been tried and failed. Chesterton put it differently: "Rather Christianity has been found difficult and left untried". More recently a writer claimed that too few had come close enough even to find it difficult.

I am uncertain that the Commandments are now written in the hearts of all men. In any case, obedience to them, the ability to so love the Lord our God that our obedience is consequential, is completely dependent on the Holy Spirit's indwelling power.

Auchenflower, Qld

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