“I win. I win.”
There is a soft familiar knock on my bedroom door at about 7:45 each weekday morning. It’s my 4 (almost 5)-year-old grandson, Jonathan. When queried, he always responds, “Is it moofy (translation smoothie) time yet? Jonathan, Judy and I take great delight in sharing this special time together. It almost never varies. When it is finally time for Jonathan to enter the room, he comes with a small, clear disposable cup in his hand. The cup contains the wonderful, delicious and nutritious smoothie Judy regularly prepares for me. It is filled less than a third and has a plastic straw it. We have a “rolling start” to our smoothie race – he usually begins whenever he is ready. There is a bright twinkle in his eye as he draws a smoothie through his straw and awaits a telltale “slurp – slurp” when his breakfast drink is finished. If by some chance “Pop-Pop” finishes first, Jonathan swiftly will declare that it is a smoothie – coffee race. He quickly finishes his smoothie and declares himself the winner since he has no coffee. “I win. I win.” It’s a cute routine and Judy and I both cherish it. My grandson always wins because he thinks he can determine the outcome by redefining the rules of the race to his advantage.
Although we may be more subtle and sophisticated, each of us is quite adept at the same procedure. Time and again we learn of celebrities who, when caught in some obvious offense, declare that they are really not that bad or a bad person at heart. We are skillful in finding the flaws of others but lacking in real self-awareness.
Again, this blindness is prevalent in the way people see themselves. People always see themselves in the most positive light. And are often much less charitable when it comes to others. This impacts our personal relationships in our homes, at work and at play.
Let’s use the 10 Commandments to sharpen our focus and to act as our guide.
The first four commandments, referred to as the first table, concern our relationship to God.
- You Shall Worship the Lord Your God…
- You Shall Not Have Any Other Gods before me…
- You Shall Not Use the Name of the Lord your God in vain… Him
- You Shall Remember the Sabbath Day And Keep It Holy…
Our culture dismisses these as being outmoded and esoteric or irrelevant. Many Christians also dismiss them by suggesting that they referred to a different era and not currently applicable. So, serving and worshiping the Lord God is not really that significant. If we choose to do it, it doesn’t matter who, how, when, or with whom.
The 6 remaining Commandments focus on our relationship to other people.
You Shall Honor your Father and Mother. This is often acceptable, except when it infringes on one’s desires, expectations or lifestyle. Further, it does not apply to imperfect parents. This commandment also has to do with respecting authority, which is learned in the public school not the home. Now respecting authority is a good thing, especially if you are the one having authority. Since authority is easily and often abused it is quite easy for us to excuse ourselves while ignoring it. For instance, “Who does he think he is…”
You Shall Not Commit Adultery. Marital faithfulness is a good thing under most or at least some circumstances. This commandment is usually understood to imply mutual consent often between a man and a woman, but things are changing… (I won’t even go there for now.)
You Shall Not Murder. Killing someone is really wrong unless it is an unborn and unwanted baby, or someone really ill or someone who doesn’t want to live anymore. Then it’s a good thing to show mercy by taking life.
You Shall Not Steal. Most people recognize that it’s really wrong to take something that doesn’t belong to you, unless you really want or need it or have another really good reason, but not if it belongs to me. This does not apply to misappropriating from the surplus of a big company or the government. It is also understood to have no bearing on government actions.
You Shall Not Be a False Witness… Lying is always wrong, unless of course it is really necessary to make one look good or to complete one’s agenda. What’s really important is that you remember what you said so you don’t get caught.
You Shall Not Covet… This commandment is really outmoded. Almost the entire field of advertising and marketing is based upon the violation of this commandment. Dissatisfaction with the status quo always yields improvement. Besides that, I really want that new electronic gadget!Wow! We have become proficient in perverting the truth. We may attempt to justify ourselves by redefining and dismissing God’s word, but in the end it really won’t do. We may try to convince ourselves and others, but we know that we are not really good people.Galatians 1.3 – 5
God gave us the 10 Commandments is to show us our need of the gospel. Jesus has fulfilled the law and satisfied God’s justice. He offers forgiveness to those who will claim it by trusting in him. These commandments now show Christians how we can live to please our Savior. The only way we win is to have Jesus win for us.
Now you know. We really are good people!
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen