Most of us know that stealing is wrong. If we walked into a department store, we wouldn’t take a product off the shelf and just walk out. We wouldn’t walk into someone’s home and steal their wallet. If we did, we would at least recognize it’s wrong, even if we didn’t care it was.
However, there are many other ways to come into possession of someone else’s property that are just as dishonest, but may not seem to us like stealing.
As children (even adult children), we are to honor our parents. This means we are to love them, treat them with respect, listen to them, and obey them. This isn’t always easy, but it is good for us and for society. This honoring comes with a promise as Paul points out in Ephesians 6.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'” – Ephesians 6:1-3
As followers of Jesus, we represent Him to many people who don’t know Him. If we are constantly lying and cheating others in His name, that is giving them the wrong idea of who Jesus is. If, instead, we love and respect others in His name and praise Him for the blessings of life, we convey to others who Jesus truly is. That’s good.
“You shall have no other gods before (or besides) me.” – Exodus 20:3
Several years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit China. While there, I tried a bunch of interesting food, visited several beautiful locations, and only occasionally made a fool of myself by not understanding Chinese customs.
One place we visited was a large Buddhist temple. The architecture was amazing and the beautiful landscaping was stunning. As we approached the temples themselves (there were several) my heart began to ache.
God starts with this:
And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” – Exodus 20:1-2
God doesn’t begin with what Israel was supposed to do. He started with what He had already done. He rescued them from slavery and delivered them, miraculously, from their oppressive enemy. He did this BEFORE they had done anything.
Now, having saved these people and made them His people (and He, their God), a people He would lead, provide for, and protect, THEN He gives them His commandments.
This changes everything.