Do you ever think about the ten commandments as just an old-fashioned list of things you can’t do? A bunch of “thou shalt nots”? I'm giving the 10 commandments a closer look by blogging about one of them each Friday. Scroll down for the last six blogs on the topic.
Number six is: Thou shalt not kill. Well, if any commandment should be a "thou shalt not" it certainly should be this one! It should be obvious to everyone that killing someone is unacceptable--in any culture, in any walk of life, in any family, race, or creed. Killing isn't OK.
But, what about the more subtle ways of killing that we encounter each day?
Have you ever been in a meeting of any kind--parent-teacher meeting, volunteer committee meeting, church meeting, organizational project meeting, etc., and you propose a great idea you've been thinking about? In fact, you think it's the best solution around. It's just what the group you're working with needs and you're excited to share it! At the first silent moment in the discussion, you pipe up and make your suggestion. There's silence. Then someone shoots it right down. Boom! like a balloon shot with an arrow. You can feel the air going right out of you. They just killed your idea, and you're left feeling like they think you're clueless. Now, I'm not implying every idea is the greatest, but there are gentler ways of letting people down. That's when the Golden Rule comes to our aid. Among other things, the Golden Rule can save us from killing someone's inspiration.
If you're not familiar, Jesus gave us what is known as the Golden Rule when he said, "all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:12). Sometimes people phrase it as, "do unto others." Basically, you should treat others as you would like to be treated. For instance, wouldn't it have felt a lot better, if when your idea was shot down, that someone would have let you down easy? They wouldn't have needed to lie, but they could have told you how much they appreciated your thoughts on the project--that sort of thing. Next time you're in that same sort of meeting and someone else makes a suggestion, you can put that rule into play. You can decide not to kill their inspiration, excitement, joy of taking part, and sincerely thank them--whether or not the idea can be implemented.
How you treat yourself can also come into play with this commandment. We should be kind to ourselves. There is a difference between self-aggrandizement and self-appreciation. To me, this commandment could be reworded, "don't kill your individuality by degrading or pushing aside the great qualities that you express so well!"
I've written it before, and it really applies here: You are uniquely important to God, Life itself. You are the proof that Life is present, that He is acting, knowing, and being. In the study of Christian Science, Mind is also a synonym for God. Mind ponders you, and reflects on you as His loved idea. Appreciating your good spiritual qualities really translates into loving God, who created you. Just think: You are part of the completeness of God's good universe as divine Life's idea.
In short, we can keep the sixth commandment by appreciating the goodness, uniqueness, individuality, and liveliness of everyone, including us! Keep the spirit of not killing by seeing each individual in God's creation as the important and eternally active idea of divine Life!
Just four more commandments left. See you next week for number 7!
Do you ever think about the ten commandments as just an old-fashioned list of things you can’t do? A bunch of “thou shalt nots”? I'm giving the 10 commandments a closer look by blogging about one of them each Friday. Scroll down for the last five blogs on the topic.
Like the fourth commandment, the fifth is more of a reminder of what to do, rather than pointing out what not to do.
The fifth commandment is: Honor thy father and thy mother. Yes, we should be nice to our parents. Surely, that's on the surface of this commandment. But, I also like to look a little deeper than the surface by spiritualizing my concept of this commandment. When I do, I see it this way: Honor your Father-Mother God.
In the study of Christian Science, God is seen as our divine Parent--Father and Mother. In her spiritual translation of the Lord’s Prayer, Mrs. Eddy translates the first line, “Our Father which art in heaven,” as “Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 16).
So, the fifth commandment is meant to remind us to honor God in our everyday lives. Of course, how we choose to honor God is unique to each one of us.
One way that I like to honor our divine Parent, God, is to see God’s creation as He made it—complete and very good. (See Genesis 1:31, Genesis 2:1). That means, that each person we come in contact with has God’s approval as His spiritual and beloved son or daughter. I felt this very tangibly yesterday while walking my dog in the park. There is a homeless man who spends his afternoons in one of the city parks. This particular park is in one of the oldest parts of town and has lush grass, beautiful shade trees, lots of squirrels, and a very deep feeling of peace and calm.
As my dog and I were on a straight stretch of sidewalk, we met the man pushing his bike toward us. It was laden down with his worldly goods in plastic grocery sacks. I said hi to him and commented that it looked like he was carrying a lot of things with him. He told me that he really needed to find a place. He said he’d been to the organizations in town that provide assistance to the homeless community and hadn’t found anything.
But, even as he said that, I could feel such a sense of God’s love for him. I was quietly knowing that this man was God’s son and could never slip through the cracks or be without one good thing. As I was feeling that, he commented that he knew “the big guy” was watching over his shoulder. I assured him that I knew that was true, too, and because of that, I was sure there was a solution right at hand. He said he had no doubt of that. He also made comment that he was thankful for this beautiful park where he could sit and enjoy the day.
This isn’t the first time I’ve spoken to this man. Every time, it has been so apparent to me that his joy, kindness, and love for life, in spite of what appears to be less than ideal human conditions, are very present and are sustaining him day by day.
Of course, I’m keeping my eyes and ears open to see if there is anything else I can offer the man. But, for now, I know that recognizing his place in our divine Parent’s presence is honoring the man, and keeping the fifth commandment to honor the creator of all, his divine Father-Mother God.
Today, you can find your own unique way to honor our divine Parent. Whatever form that takes, be sure to pause...and send Her a prayer of gratitude for all the good in your life and in the world around you.
Do you ever think about the ten commandments as just an old-fashioned list of things you can’t do? A bunch of “thou shalt nots”? I'm giving the 10 commandments a closer look by blogging about one of them each Friday. Scroll down for the last four blogs on the topic.
The fourth commandment isn't a "shalt not" at all! It's more of a reminder: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
For most, the sabbath day is seen as a church going day; a day to worship God. Many people associate it with Sunday, although some denominations worship on different days of the week.
In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, sabbath is defined in part as a time of rest.
So, it seems to me, this commandment is less about a particular day of the week, or even a particular church you might attend. (As much as I really love attending church on Sunday mornings!) To me, this commandment is a reminder that we can take a rest every day from the stress and strain of believing that our life is just a bunch of material events—sometimes good, sometimes bad.
In reality, there isn’t even one day out of the week that our identity isn’t completely holy, created and maintained by God. We’re not really matter-based beings, living out a mortal existence on a roller coaster of material events. To find out who we really are, we have to start from the beginning.
God’s spiritual creation is described in the first chapter of the biblical book of Genesis. Right there on the sixth day it says that man, including male and female, was created in God’s own image. Since God is Spirit, it follows that man must be like Spirit—spiritual!
How does God view His complete, spiritual creation? “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the hosts of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made” (Genesis 1:31, 2:1,2). I love to think of God, or divine Mind (a synonym for God) as delighting in His complete creation. He was satisfied with His work.
So, who are you, then? You are part of God’s spiritual, and very good creation, which has been permanently fixed throughout eternity, and with which God is perfectly satisfied—then and now. I know, it’s a big idea, but can’t you just feel the safety and comfort in that fact?
So, keep today and every day holy by taking a rest from the roller coaster of material life, and ponder the possibility that you are eternally God’s and safely held as a spiritual idea in divine Mind, or Spirit. It’s bound to perk up your day!
"Deity was satisfied with His work. How could He be otherwise, since the spiritual creation was the outgrowth, the emanation, of His infinite self-containment and immortal wisdom?" (Science and Health, p. 517).
Do you ever think about the ten commandments as just an old-fashioned list of things you can’t do? A bunch of “thou shalt nots”? I'm giving the 10 commandments a closer look by blogging about one of them each Friday. Scroll down for the last three blogs on the topic.
The third commandment is: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
There's more to this one than just not using God as a curse word when you drop something heavy on your foot, or get angry at another driver.
We can start by asking the question: What does “the name of God” even mean? Whenever I see “name” I think “nature.” To me, this commandment is about praying with an understanding that God’s nature is good, and that His will for His beloved creation then, is only goodness—health, perfection, peace, and so on. Prayer which acknowledges God’s good nature as ever-present and active in the lives of yourself and everyone sets you up to expect a tangible good effect from your prayer; then you’re well on your way to keeping the third commandment!
One of the definitions for “vain” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary says, “marked by futility or ineffectualness.” To keep the third commandment is to see that every time we pray we will see a result—we will not see our prayer acknowledging God’s nature as vain, or without effect. The Bible reminds us, “The prayer of a righteous person has much power as it is working” (James 5:16). Keeping the third commandment includes knowing, without a doubt, that there is only one power, God, working in the world.
You may be thinking...but, I don’t always get what I ask for when I pray! How can you say each prayer has an effect? In the Christian Science textbook, Mrs. Eddy comments on this when she says, “That which we desire and for which we ask, it is not always best for us to receive. In this case infinite Love will not grant the request” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 10). So, the last part of keeping the third commandment is to trust that your prayer has the effect of bringing the biggest blessing. An all-knowing God, who is Love itself, can and does see all. Divine Love has no reason to hold anything good back from you. The second verse of a favorite hymn says:
Every prayer to Him is answered,
Prayer confiding in His will.
Blessedness and joy are near thee,
Hear His gentle Peace, be still.
(Christian Science Hymnal, #76, words by Edmund Beale Sargant)
Answered prayer is the understanding that, no matter what, blessedness, joy, and peace are near. In fact, as ever-present as God Himself.
So, when you drop that heavy object on your foot and yell out, be sure not to curse using God's name. And also, each day as you pray, keep the spirit of that third commandment by acknowledging that every prayer offered to the supreme, all-knowing, good God has a tangible effect in your life. We never pray in vain.
Do you ever think about the ten commandments as just an old-fashioned list of things you can’t do? A bunch of “thou shalt nots”? I'm giving the 10 commandments a closer look by blogging about one of them each Friday. Scroll down for the last two blogs on the topic.
Today's blog is on good ol' number two. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image."
OK, so most of us don't have statues of gods in our houses--Mercury with his winged helmet and shoes displayed proudly on our mantle.
But, what's engraved on your thought that would keep you from focusing more on the one God and the good He's sending your way? (Take a look at last week's blog, One, to get a more extensive concept of the one God.)
The distractions of our everyday lives—too much Facebook time, too much road rage, too much of whatever keeps your thoughts in swirling chaos—are the idols of today. Whatever you keep engraved in the center of your thought might as well be an idol.
The modern day idols are things like: encounters at the office that keep replaying in your mind and making you angry all over again; feeling incomplete if there isn't time to check your social media accounts; extreme worry about the plight of everyone in the world.
How can you tell if what you're thinking about has become an idol, or graven image?
Since God is good itself, it makes sense that anything that is less than joyful, less than peaceful, less than calm in your life, isn't coming from this one and only source of good. Dwelling on those helpless and vulnerable feelings is like setting up an altar with false gods.
How do we get rid of those vulnerable, emotional, and helpless feelings that want to take over our moments and days?
Be willing today to open up your thought to the fact that God, divine Love itself, only has good in store for you, and everyone else in the world. I know, it may sound crazy when looking at the news. But, take even the slightest glimmer of good--kindness, efficiency, loyalty, honesty, purity, and so on--and magnify it. The fact that something good has stood out to you at all, means there's more where that came from! God, good fills all space. No one is left out.
Asking God in your heart of hearts to let Him be at the center of your life is effective prayer. Being willing to accept, on any level, that there may be something going on besides chaos, is like taking down the statues of other little gods from your mantle.
Be so thankful today that God is the only power operating in your life. Because there is only one God, in reality, there are no graven images, or false gods, that can take attention away from God, divine good.
You can read more about the nature of God, good, in Mrs. Eddy's primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
Come back next week! We'll be thinking about number three: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."
I hope these insights will inspire readers to think more spiritually about themselves and the world around them!