To live right in relationship with God and with one another is not about removing the capacity to desire from our lives. The goal is to refocus our desire on that which is God-oriented.
Our truth-telling is not just about our necessity to be honest or our public institutions to demand honesty – it’s about our right and faithful participation in community.
Stealing would be better identified “as any activity that damages or destroys a person’s or a community’s opportunity for a tolerable life in community – consisting at least of adequate food, clothing, shelter, work, and hope for the future.” And the Command says, do not steal.
As with the other commandments, an interpretation of “you shall not commit adultery” that maintains ancient east models would be quite dangerous for our society today. We need a more faithful application for life in the 21st Century.
In our attempts to weasel out of this command, we are not helped much by trying to substitute the word murder for kill, or vice versa. We need to reclaim God’s intent in the sixth commandment, and learn to more faithfully live it out.
I think to exemplify this fifth commandment faithfully today means addressing one primary question: how are you showing your gratitude for life?
Perhaps we need to reframe our understanding of Sabbath rest. The Sabbath is not about doing nothing. We should be putting as much effort into the Sabbath as we do every other day, for truly, Sabbath is about actively seeking to withdraw from our labor.
The third commandment calls us to have integrity with God, and to not trivialize God’s power.
Perhaps it is best said that our idolatry today is not defined by creating false images of God, that instead, it’s defined by creating false images of the world God has created – a world that at it’s creation, God called good.
I am convinced that to understand the ten commandments today, we must understand them as they were first presented to the people of Israel. The ten commandments were offered by God to the people of Israel through Moses as they were wandering in the wilderness, having left their lives of slavery in Egypt in search of the promised land – the expected final destination, which they were persuaded would be filled with the blessings of God’s glory.