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Sunday, March 11, 2012

The ten commandments were given to Moses on Mount Sinai as laws for the people of Israel. They stand today as major influences not only on Judeo-Christian ethics, but on secular law as well. Take for example, the 8th Commandment, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. We have all seen the penalties for lying in cases of cover up schemes by politicians and high level businessmen.

Overall, the 10 commandments serve as one of God's clearest communications to man. Jesus came long after the 10 commandments, which were supplemented by a large body of religious laws instituted by the high priests and elders over the centuries in Israel. Jesus added clarity to the complexity of the legalistic religion that had overgrown due to man's attempt to refine God's laws. Jesus was able to summarize the new law when he spoke his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 - 7):

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

It is not easy to follow the teaching of Jesus. Possibly a specific law that is spelled out and that has loopholes and exceptions would be easier for me to follow. But may Jesus bless me to follow the spirit of the teachings of Jesus, and to learn of them through the scripture and fellowship of other Christians who may influence me. May I be aware that I too have an influence on others and may a light shine from me that proclaims the love of God that has been freely extended to me an all my earthly brethren.

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