This may seem absurd to some. How can a bunch of ‘thou shalt nots’ be considered the rules of love? Being so old, they may seem outdated. But I do not think the problem is that they are too old, but that they are not adhered to. When we teach our children how to live, we give them rules. Do this, but not this. In fact, we are giving our children rules to live by, but also rules to love by.
God, as our Father, is just doing the same. We all agree that it is not loving to kill someone, so we have ‘Thou shalt not kill’. Stealing from someone is not loving, so we have ‘Thou shalt not steal’. And you cannot love your spouse if you cheat on your spouse, so we have ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’. Indeed, it is easy to see why breaking these commandments is not love.
1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve. Now, this people start to question. Why should God demand that I serve Him? The answer is quite easy. God is Our Father, as Jesus taught us, and “God is love.” [1 John 4:8] If those are true, we should desire to serve Him so as to be as loving as we can be. If we deny God, we are really denying love, no matter how we want to explain it.
But God has so many laws, rules, and teachings that just seem so unloving. They may seem so. In some cases, it is a Christian group with laws, rules, or teachings that we disagree with. Sometimes it is even the Church, Herself. In many of these situations, we are digging deep into complex issues and it takes more on our part to properly understand the actual law, rule, or teaching we disagree with. But we should focus on the 10 Commandments for the moment.
If you love someone, surely you would not use their name as a curse, so we have ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.’ And we keep ‘the Lord’s day Holy’ in remembrance of His loving creation. Indeed, it is a day of rest for us, so it may be seen almost as, “I needed to rest after six days and with you being made in My Image, you need to rest after six days.” No one can deny that we needed to be rested to thrive.
To love, we must remain in love. We must remain in God. If we reject God, we simply cannot love fully. Sure, we may love in some ways, but who wants to love half-way? The ideal is to love completely. The ideal is Jesus. A man, though God, who gave Himself completely for love of us. Indeed, “God is love”, so it comes naturally to Him to love, even when faced with the Cross. Thank you, Jesus!
And do not ‘bear false witness against your neighbor’. Not just ‘do not lie’, but something deeper. We think of witnesses being in court, but there are also public witness. Saying, “I saw Henry stealing”, when you did not. But also scandal, with the public witness of your life. Doing nothing wrong, but doing something that others could perceive as wrong. Like a husband sharing a hotel room with an ex-girlfriend with public knowledge, even though they did not commit adultery. It is assumed that they did and if they are seen as good people, others may think adultery as no longer a bad thing, even though they did not actually commit adultery.
Too often, we look past the old ways of love, searching for new ways. But when we forget or reject the past ways that Our Father has taught us how to love, we are really forgetting and rejecting Our Heavenly Father and His love. This is truly a case of Father knows best. We just have to realize it and do our best to live the Rules of Love, so as to make ourselves and our world a more loving place.
Jesus, as the Only-Begotten Son of God, You taught us how to love completely. Help us to be sons and daughters of God the Father, so that we might love completely as well with You as our Brother. Amen.