Life, Hope & Truth

Speaking of... Life, Hope & Truth

Can You List the 10 Commandments?

Imagine you are walking in the park on a spring day with your partner—who happens to be married to another person. You stop for an ice cream treat; and while the vendor is distracted, you reach in his money box and grab a handful of cash. You think nothing of it and walk on. When you return to your parking space, your car is gone. And it’s not just gone, it has been stolen! So you look around and find another car with the keys in it, and you take it. Now imagine that this kind of conduct is not only condoned, it is legal. There are no laws to prevent you from doing anything you please.

This would not be a happy scenario—at least not if you were one of the victims! Would it be possible for anyone to find true joy or happiness, let alone peace of mind, in such a world?

Thankfully, every nation has laws on the books to prohibit and punish behavior like lying, stealing and murder. Most people recognize that these laws of the land are essential to keeping peace and order in any society. The truth is, society is always better off when laws are obeyed than when laws are consistently broken, or where there is no law at all. Most people easily recognize that, generally speaking, law-keeping leads to peace and tranquility; law-breaking leads to heartbreak, misery and suffering. 

So why is it, then, that while we humans embrace the fundamental notion of the great value of law, we don’t equally embrace the value of God’s laws? Actually, many of the fundamental laws of society are based on the 10 Commandments. But not all of them! Ever since God gave the 10 Commandments, we humans have chosen to pick and choose which ones we want to keep and which ones we don’t.

In essence that sends God a message: “If Your laws conform with our ideas, fine. But don’t YOU tell us what we ought to do! We’ll decide that for ourselves.”

The Bible, in fact, makes it clear that humans have always bristled with resentment when God tells us what to do or not do.

The 10 Commandments are some pretty simple rules of life. In fact, Jesus taught that these are laws of love—loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself. They were designed by our Creator to be very basic and easy-to-remember rules that would help us live the right way and enjoy the resulting blessings. But where are we today with regard to the most fundamental of God’s laws?

Here’s a test for you. Can you, right now, list the 10 Commandments? If you can, you’re a rare person! 

In a 2007 survey of 1,000 Americans—including churchgoers—80 percent could name “two all-beef patties” as the main ingredients of a Big Mac, but only 60 percent knew “Thou shalt not kill” was one of the 10 Commandments!

Less than half, 45 percent, knew that “honor thy father and mother” was a commandment, but 62 percent knew that a Big Mac has a pickle! 

Forty-three percent of those surveyed could recall that Peter and Bobby were characters on the old Brady Bunch TV show, but only 34 percent recalled that “remember the Sabbath” and “do not make false idols” were among the 10 Commandments.

This level of ignorance is amazing and, I must say, immensely disrespectful to God!

No, we’re not the extreme society I described at the beginning of this commentary. But do you ever worry about the direction we’re going? Jesus warned that one of the signs of the end of the age is that the world would become more and more lawless! 

Isn’t it time to seriously examine our attitude toward law, especially the law of God?

For Life, Hope & Truth, I am Britton Taylor.