The 10 Commandments
Are they in order of importance?
Do they go from "greatest" to "least"? While I believe that sin is sin, and that my sins are equally as bad as yours, we shall see that the consequences for some sins are greater than the consequences for others. Lets look at them in reverse order, to see it they run from the least consequential to the most.
10. Do not covet!
To covet is more than just be jealous of someone else because they have something that you don't have, though jealousy is a good thing to avoid, too. To covet is to not only believe that you are entitled to what your neighbor has, but also that you should be the one having it in the first place! This is more powerful than jealousy! This is the least of the commandments because it only affects one person - YOU. Once you get beyond coveting, you violate other commandments.
9. Do not bear false witness.
Don't lie about what others are doing, but more than that, don't lie about what you have experienced, seen, witnessed, endured or overcome. Don't exagerate nor minimize. This is 'worse' than coveting, because now you are taking that internal covet to an external action. Now you are trying to get what is not yours, or avoid what is coming to you!
8. Don't steal.
To steal something you now act to get what you were coveting or you steal what you can resell so you can get money. Stealing is taking from another what is theirs without their permission. You deprive them of what is theirs. If you take a pen from work, or rob a bank, or take crop from another's field, you benefit yourself at another's expense. That is evil.
Note: An attitude of gratitude for what we do have is inline with these commandments. When you are truly happy with what you have, you have less trouble with coveting, lying and stealing!
7. Do not commit adultery.
Taking the meaning of adultery as "defiling the marriage bed", from whom do you steal with this violation? You steal from them, their spouse and their children. You are lying about it and you certainly coveted! You have not only stolen, you have violated a trust and hurt people. God does not take this lightly.
6. Do not murder.
Do not take a life simply because your emotions or your selfish and warped logic tells you it is the thing to do. You have robbed that person of the rest of their life, and robbed their loved ones and that person's employer and friends of that person as well.
Notice how the list of innocent victims has grown with each violation! From the internal problem of coveting, on to hurting another, to hurting a whole family and more.
5. Honor your mother and father!
I have often wondered why this commandment even existed let alone why is this commandment has a promise attached. (That you may live long). Possibly because we think that murder is worse. I confess that it is easier to see the logic against murder than the logic against this. There are many long term costs that we can not see, because we never get to see alternative futures. In short, if you want to live a long happy life, increase your chances of doing so by honoring your parents. they sacrificed much in order to raise you, you owe them much. Researchers say that you learn more in your first two years than in the rest ofyour life! Who knows? Maybe your children will learn from your example and take care of you in your old age? Or maybe they will learn from you and abandon you as you wither?
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.
Some say that this commandment only applies to the Jewish or Hebrew peoples and the rest of us can ignore it. If so, please explain why this is the only commandment that doesn't apply to everyone. Remembering a day and keeping it holy is for our benefit. Stephen Covey in his book "7 Habits of Successful People" lists the habit of "Sharpening the Saw". We must stop working and rest and refocus and smell the roses and check ourselves. Better still to worship and praise God and thank Him for our uncountable blessings!
3. Do not take God's name in vain.
How can cursing be worse than murder? (Relax, it isn't.) This commandment refers to how you live, not what you utter out of your mouth in anger or frustration. As the wife and children take the husband's name in many societies, signifying a new life, so does our "taking God's name" signify a new life. God also expects us to change the way we live when we tell the world we are "God's Chosen People". Do not say you are a Christian if Christ is not your Lord or boss, coaching you throughout this life. Don't tell people you are Jewish if you do not live as one of Abraham's (or Judah's) descendents. Honor Father Abraham in the way you live. These lies about whom we belong to are worse than those discussed earlier, these thefts are worse, this type of adultery is worse because of whom it is against and the HUGE number of victims over the years that are affected. Remember that during a war soldiers not in their required uniform are either deserters or spies. God also requires you clearly identify whose side you are on. Click here to read more about this greatly misunderstood commandment.
2. No graven images.
Originally graven images were used to worship or to assist in worshiping God. You made a little something and it brought God to mind, and then you used it to focus on God. Rosaries, statues, icons, tall steeples, flags, pictures, crosses and other figures have been used in such a way over the years.
The problem is that over time, we decide that having the "thing", whether it is a church building, a bible, or a routine or ritual, is more important than having an interactive, personal relationship with God. Let's use a simple example: When I went out to sea, I wore my wedding band. I was gone for six months, and the wedding band was something that I could look at and smile. How crazy you would think me to be if I started to hold that wedding band as more important to me than my relationship with my wife!? The ring is merely a reminder of a covenant relationship and a commitment to that relationship that both of us have. It is only a reminder, not a replacement or substitute.
My wife is the most important person on earth to me. My God is the most important living being to me. To keep it that way, I am better served (and they are, too) if I don't create special rules and special ways to worship either one of them. I should do it the way that they ask me to, shouldn't I?
Many of us are very good at forgetting that a symbol of something is not a substitute for it. When we forget, we hurt countless generations that come after us. Look at how many people think you must have a tall church steeple or it's not right? Or how many people put up Christmas trees yet don't know the man whom the baby grew up to be? Easter bunnies scoff at the cross, while we eat chocolate and stuff ourselves. We dress up for church, because "God deserves our best" yet we are not open and honest with Him or His shepherds. We claim Jesus rose and is alive yet we do not speak with Him. Others passed these warped ideas on to us, and we don't even question them anymore, we just follow like sheep, going astray. Because someone violated this commandment long ago.
1. No other Gods before Him.
Go ahead, make His day. Trust something or someone else instead of Him and then wonder why you don't get invited to Heaven.
Don't you realize that the only way to get an invitation to heaven is to know the owner? And the only way to know the owner is to try to build a relationship with Him? Like any relationship you want to build. Spend time with Him, find out what He likes to do and join Him in it, go with Him to places He likes to go, meet His friends and get to know them, share meals together, go for long walks together and the two most important, spend time reading His auto-biography and spend time talking with Him. Ask about His likes, His dislikes. What excites Him and what turns Him off.
It's like my house, or the house of most people you know. There are many, many good people in our neighborhood that we have not invited for dinner, or for an afternoon or a week. Yes, our two children get to stay for as long as they want, and close relatives have an open invitation, as do some friends. Otherwise, no invite!
Heaven is the same way. If you don't personally know the doorman (Jesus) or the owner (God) then you are not the holder of an invitation.
You can't bribe the doorman with anything, because He created it all and already owns it. You can't bribe the owner, because you have nothing to offer Him, either.
It's going to be a great party, and only those that are good friends with the host will get to come in. In fact, even some that think they are going, won't.