Ten or Two?
(*Originally posted November 2018)
I know we may all be tired of talking about the midterm elections, but follow me on this for just a second. I promise it doesn't have much to do with politics, but rather on worldview.
On November 6, the state of Alabama voted that public agencies and schools can display the Ten Commandments freely. Dean Young, the chief advocate for this amendment, stated, “This is the first time in the history of the country that a state has taken such a stand in acknowledging the God of the Old and New Testament.”
I want to argue that this isn't wholly true. Specifically the words "and new."
For those of you reading who can't remember all 10 commandments, here is an overview:
1. Don't have any other gods before Yahweh.
2. Don't make/have any idols.
3. Don't take God's name in vain.
4. Keep the Sabbath day holy.
5. Honor your father and mother.
6. Don't murder.
7. Don't commit adultery.
8. Don't steal.
9. Don't lie.
10. Don't covet (yearning to possess something or someone).
These are good rules, good laws. We should follow every single one of these!
But there's a single word that appears 8 times. "Don't." This was the theme of the everyday life of the people in the Old Testament. They were following the Old Covenant, which was a lot of rules and a lot of sacrificing to make up for the don'ts they committed.
These rules are still relevant. They're still applicable (seriously, don't kill people). But I wouldn't say we live in a "don't" environment anymore. There's a reason God shook things up and sent His divine only Son to live among us and heal people and feed people lots of fish and bread.
It was so he could change humanity into people who "do" instead of "don't."
I really like that Jesus recognized that we as humans were incapable of living up to all of the laws of the Old Testament. Have you read Leviticus?! So he gave us two new commandments:
1. Love God with everything you have.
2. Love others like you love yourself.
I don't want to live in a "don't" mindset. If I tried to share the message of Jesus with people and all I used was the ten commandments, I'd hit the hardest brick wall face first every time. But, when I talk about how I love God fiercely because of the love he has shown me (commandments 1-4) and how His love has translated into me loving other people no matter who they are or what they've done (commandments 5-10), I tend to move a little further in the conversation.
This is not to knock the amendment passed. Although it's not something I agree with, I totally respect the voter's choice. That's what's great about democracy. What I am saying is to challenge yourself to say, "WHY do I want the ten commandments up?" What is your motivation? Would you consider displaying those commandments instead? Or just living them out?
The Old Testament still has relevance today or we wouldn't study it. The God of the Old Testament is still the same God of the New Testament. BUT, we don't live under the same covenant. We live in a world where Jesus has already taken our punishments for the "don't" in order for us to focus on the "do."
And "doing" love is the greatest commandment of all.