There are many opinions that society wants us to believe: Climate is changing. Climate isn’t changing. Capitalism is good. Capitalism is bad. The internet/TV/video games/music are evil. Nothing’s evil; it’s all in how you use it. And don’t even get me started on what we should or shouldn’t eat or drink!
Mostly though, opinions are opinions and whether or not we agree is not going to make much difference in the long run. But underneath everything there are two beliefs that will affect us for eternity.
One side tells us to do what makes us happy, what feels good or right. On this side truth is relative, morality is an obsolete construct, right and wrong are in the mind of the individual, and there are no eternal consequences – good or bad – for anything we choose to do.
On the other side is God, who tells us that He has a plan for each of us. God’s plan may look old-fashioned and restrictive on the surface, but, in reality, it is the simplest, clearest route to a happy, uncomplicated life right now, even if we don’t count eternal rewards or punishments.
I understood this issue so much better once I became a parent. Most of us did not raise our children in a rules-free environment. We set boundaries around them to keep them as safe and happy as possible. Our children weren’t always pleased with those boundaries (especially teens) but eventually, they will have to admit that those rules showed them that we loved them enough to worry about them. God’s rules are the same, except that they are perfect.
As I was thinking about God’s rules, the Ten Commandments, I realized that each one is logical and clearly a picture of who God is and how much He loves us. In fact, they’re not so much a list of rules as a letter from Someone who loves us and wants only the best for us. This is how I read the Ten Commandments, as applicable to me in today’s society:
So many of you seem to be confused about what kind of Person I am, and I want to remind you of some things that I said a long, long time ago. I want you to know that, no matter what anybody else tells you, everything I ever said is still true. Please remember that I created you and I love you, so any time I ask you to do something or not to do something it’s because I want to protect you from being. This is why I gave you these ten rules of life.
1. Stay right next to me and don’t let anybody come between us so you lose sight of me, just like when you take your own kids to a store or a park, you tell them to stay right next to you. I don’t want you to get lost. So stay close! I’d have you hold my hand if I could.
2. Don’t get caught up in all the things around you. Things can separate you from Me just like people can. My heart breaks at the thought of losing even one of you, so don’t get so wrapped up in things that you can’t see me any more. I’ll make sure you have everything you need.
3. Don’t misrepresent me to the people around you. You are my face, my hands, my feet, my heart to the people you meet. What you say and do in My name shapes how people see me. If you show them that I’m angry, impatient or arbitrary, they won’t want to come closer to me. If you tell them I’m hovering over them to catch them doing something wrong, they’ll try to hide from me. Show them how much I love them—that I would rather die than live without them.
4. Remember to keep our date every week. I made that appointment way back when I created your world. I’m there, waiting for you every seventh day. Of course I’m with you all the other days, but I made Sabbath so that we could spend twenty-four hours together, no matter what else was going on anywhere. The Sabbath helps you remember that you are the most important thing in the universe to Me. I’m sad when you’re not there.
5. Take good care of your parents. The way you think about them is a lot like the way you think about Me. And you may not know it yet, but the way they feel about you is a lot like the way I feel about you.
6. Please respect the people around you. I love them too, and if you hate or hurt another person, you have lost sight of me.
7. Remember that I made Eve for Adam so that they could understand what love means, so they could take care of each other and have children together. Marriage is very special, like the Sabbath, and it’s important to guard the edges.
8. Remember that people are more important than things. When things become so important to you that you steal them, those things have gotten between you and Me.
9. Love the people around you. Build them up so that both you and they come closer to me.
10. Be happy for your neighbors when they are successful, and be content with what you have as well.
Some folks are going to tell you that living by these rules is restrictive. They may even tell you that I said these things to keep you from having any fun. That’s just not true. I tell you to live this way because I made you, and I know what’s going to keep you happy in the long run.
Some people will also tell you that I ask you to live by these rules to control you and make it more difficult for you to live with me in Heaven. That’s not, true either. I want every one of you to be with me in Heaven, and all you have to do is accept my Son’s sacrifice for the mistakes you’ve made.
The truth is, though, that these are the rules we live by in Heaven, and if you find them uncomfortable while you’re on earth, you’ll feel the same way about them in Heaven.
Think about what I’ve said. Remember that I love you and I can’t wait to be with you.
And, of course, we need to hear this:
“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” John 3:16 AMP
God is so good, isn’t He?