November 8, 2005

Laws of Love (part 2)

Queen Shenaynay

a continuation of an excerpt from Fearfully & Wonderfully Made

The next six commandments govern personal relationships. The first is already stated positively: honor your father and mother, a command echoed by virtually every society on earth. The next five:

Human life is sacred. I gave it, and it has enormous worth. Cling to it. Respect it; it is the image of God. He who ignores this and commits the sacrilege of murder must be punished.

The deepest human relationship possible is marriage. I created it to solve the essential loneliness in the heart of every person. To spread what is meant for marriage alone among a variety of people will devalue and destroy that relationship. Save sex and intimacy for its rightful place within marriage.

I am entrusting you with property. You can own things, and you should use them responsibly. Ownership is a great privilege. For it to work, you must respect everyone else's right to ownership; stealing violates that right.

I am a God of truth. Relationships only succeed when they are governed by truth. A lie destroys contracts, promises, trust. You are worthy of trust: express it by not lying.

I have given you good things to enjoy: oxen, grains, gold, furniture, musical instruments. But people are always more important than things. Love people; use things. Do not use people for your love of things.

Stripped down, the commandments emerge as a basic skeleton of trust that links relationships between people and between people and God. God claims, as the Good Shepherd, that He has given law as the way to the best life. Our own rebellion, from the Garden of Eden onward, tempts us to believe He is the bad shepherd whose laws keep us from something good.


Jesus' Sermon on the Mount puts the capstone on His attitude toward the law. There, He described the Ten Commandments as the bare minimum. They actually point to profound principles: modesty, respect, non-violence, sharing. Then Jesus submitted the ideal social ethic -- a system governed by only one law, the law of love. He calls us toward that ideal. Why? So God can take a fatherly pride in how well His little experiment on earth is progressing? Of course not. These laws were not given for God's sake, but for ours. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath," He said, and "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (Mark 2:27; John 8:32). Jesus came to cleanse the violence, greed, lust, and hurtful competition from within us for our sakes. His desire is to have us become like God.


I conclude with G. K. Chesterton that "the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild."

A highly recommended book.

No comments: