Sunday, November 16, 2003 - Apache Junction, Arizona, USA
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Remember the recent Ten Commandments plaque flap in Alabama? It's been in the news again because they ousted the guy from his judgeship who wanted to keep his monument in the courthouse.
Why all the commontion about this issue anyway? The Ten Commandments are the opening commands of the Jewish Law Covenant listed in Exodus 20:1-21. The rest of the Law-code is given from Exodus 20:22 through 23:33. Are these two different things? No. The Ten Commandments are simply the first part of the Law and given no special recognition by anyone in the Bible. In fact, Jesus once said if you break any part of the Law, you've broken the whole thing. No one part was more important than another.
Do Christians uphold the Law Covenant today? No. The Law Covenant became void at the death of Christ, who instituted a New Covenant. Christ issued two commands - Love God and Love your neighbor. That's it. Christians were to be identified by their love. Does this mean the Law Covenant is meaningless today? No. It's value lies in the guidelines it offers to people trying to understand the God they worship.
If Christians aren't under the law then why the trouble? The church sees the Ten Commandments as an icon. They pick and choose from the Jewish Law things that fit their program. The Ten Commandments are one example, the condemnation of witches and gays is another. It's odd because the Ten Commandments say, "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath.." Yet that is exactly what the Ten Commandments have become - an Idol replacing the New Covenant of Jesus. Oh, by the way, please note there is nothing in the Ten Commandments about witches or homosexuals. Homosexuality is mentioned in the other part of the Law Covenant, but not as a crime punishable by death. Aldutry, however, was punishable by death. Which do you think is a bigger threat to marriage today, adultry or homosexuality?
Why not put up plaques honoring the New Covenant Laws that Christians are to follow? Because people would have no foundation for their hatred. They'd have to love their neighbor. Who's their neighbor? That follower of Wicca who lives down the street. The two gay guys at work. The Moslem fanatics who flew jets into the twin towers on 9-11. Yes, Jesus said, "Love your enemies."
The Bible shows that the old Law Covenant was impossible to keep. The new Covenant seems just as difficult, judging by the hatred spewed from the churches. The history of the Christian church is abominable. How many wars pitted Christian against Christian? How many witches, gays, blacks, Native Americans, Jews and, oddly enough, other Christians have died in the name of Christianity? These were/are followers of Jesus?
The Bible is very clear about how the followers of Christ would be recognized. "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35) How important is the love command? "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness." (1John 2:9) "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions in truth." (1 John 3:18) "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." (1 John 4: 20-21)
Simple enough, right? So why all the confusion. It seems the nature of mankind in sin is to hate, not love. Jesus came to rectify that. He fought with the clergy of his time who wanted to hate the Romans. Jesus refered to them as "Blind guides." Many clergymen and their followers today are just as blind to the love that Jesus taught.
I'm not against Christians, nor am I against Jesus. But God gave me the capacity to love and to understand when I am loved in return. When asked what the greatest commandment in the Law Covenant was, Jesus replied, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your sould and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Can you find it in your heart to love and not hate?
©2003 Marcia Ellen "Happy" Beevre
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