Do As I Say!

Those pesky Ten Commandments found in Exodus 21:1-17!  

(Disclaimer: I am a child of the 50’s and 60’s. I am neither a biblical scholar nor a theologian, but I did get my PhD from the University of Hard Knocks. I am simply an old work horse who has lived life and loves Jesus.)

Ten Commandments

Growing up in a home and church culture that used the King James Version of the Bible was rough on me. Early on I had to learn the Ten Commandments and, frankly, that learning both scared me and scarred me. By the time I had learned number ten I was sure of several things, though I was deathly afraid to express those fears.

Perhaps You Can Relate

  • When it said “thou shalt not”, something was left unsaid— “because if you do……” Thus, I sensed that there was a foot that was going to come down on me—hard, because I knew I did things that were wrong.
  • From Sunday afternoons until the next Sunday when Sunday School began, I saw a lot of “thou shalt nots” happening around me and there was no foot coming down.
  • Finally, I inherently started to think of myself as a bad person, especially as I got older, because there was no way that I could obey all of those ten rules that had been crammed down my throat. I was doomed!
  • I felt that I couldn’t say anything about any of that because I thought that if I did, I would be looked upon as a pariah.

Basically, I felt like I was a little child and there was this great big somebody who I didn’t know who was constantly bending over in front of me with a big fat finger shaking at my face. It was an unpleasant image that lived in my brain into adulthood.

It took many long years in my adulthood before that image was shattered because I continued to see the commandments as a set of instructions that I must try to obey but couldn’t. I felt that it was impossible even with the presence of the Holy Spirit because I kept hearing the “message” I grew up hearing from my parents and teachers— “Do as I say!”.  My internal rebellious restlessness abhorred those words.

How is this for a different twist on the Ten Commandments? What if we were willing to change our perspective from a bunch of “you better nots” to the concept of a Father describing to His child how to enter one-ship with Him? Then it becomes not a matter of “do as I say” but rather one of “do as you are because you are one with Me”. Here are a few examples of how they may sound in that perspective.

  • I am in Heaven, you are on earth which I created. You are holy because I am holy. 
  • You have no other gods because you are one with the One true God.
  • You don’t steal because I don’t.
  • I rest, so out of our oneship you rest.

Yes, they sound different as would the other seven had I completed the list (that’s for you to think about and do!). In this view of the commandments it is easy for me to grasp that it wasn’t a God who was telling His people to obey His rules, but rather a father trying to tell a son or daughter who he is.  They aren’t a set of rules about what we must do to be loved by Him, but rather a set of guidelines for a good life being shared by a loving Father, one in whose lineage we lie.

Final Thought

I share one final thought. If you have the willies understanding the Ten Commandments because you may have been scarred as a youth like I was, perhaps the New Testament version of those commandments will help you. Though there are only two spoken by Jesus, to me they certainly and completely sum up how I should live out my live (and hopefully yours) without that image of a finger being pointed in my face or worrying about waiting for the foot to come down. One might say it’s the Cliffs Notes version of the Ten Commandments.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul 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.”

Matthew 22:36-40 NIV

I’m Author Joe Miller and I’d like to thank you for stopping by today!

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