Please put on your thinking caps because today we're going to talk about a serious subject. I know a lot of people believe that if they keep the Ten Commandments they will be okay in this life and go to heaven in the next life. So let's examine these Commandments.
The first five deal with deity and last five deal with human behavior. We're going to think about the last five because they deal with good advice for all people. Number five says "Honor your father and mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God has given you." The promise of a long life is a bonus. Let's just consider honor thy father and mother and just how we do that. We listen to them and follow their advice. How do we honor them? We honor them by respecting ourselves and them. How do we respect ourselves? We stay clean, we dress well, we learn to love to work, we enjoy doing things for others, we make our parents proud of us. We tell the truth, we are loving and kind, we laugh a lot and make others laugh. These are all positive things. Some of the negative that are no-nos are bullying other kids, lying, cheating, fighting, laziness, and making trouble. Now let's look at these lists. When we want something from our parents, to which group will they say yes? To the positive group, of course. Who wants to say yes to trouble-makers? So you see, it pays to be good.
Commandment number six says, "Thou shalt not kill." Good advice. First of all, it's against the law and leads to death or imprisonment. It's a negative that brings pain to many.
Commandment number seven says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Being loyal to your mate is so rewarding. It makes you feel great and it makes your mate feel loved and secure. The opposite can bring much pain and lead to divorce and a broken home.
Commandment number eight says, "Thou shalt not steal." Here too, this act can lead to prison, or if it's a small thing, it can lead to broken relationships. A parent cannot be happy with a child who steals. This action of stealing brings pain, too.
Number nine says, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." This means lying, ruining your neighbor's reputation. These lies are usually hateful. Hate is the opposite of love, and bears bitter fruit.
Number 10 says, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, they neighbor's wife, nor his manservant nor his maid servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's." This means, to sum it all up, we should never be jealous of anyone else's possessions and want to take them away. We should be happy for others who have done well. There will always be people who have more than we do, and there will always be people who have less. Let's all be thankful for what we have.
When we look over the last five Commandments, each one gives us good advice. If we follow these Commandments we will have good relationships and lives.
Do you have to be religious to benefit from these five Commandments? No; they pay off for everyone to follow. Even if you only believe in one life, an earthly life, these Commandments will be guidelines for a happy life.
But if you believe in a second life, the hereafter, will following these rules get you into heaven? The answer is "No." Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by me." Do you believe him, or think he is a liar? That's your choice to make.
The Ten Commandments were written to show us that it's impossible for anyone to keep them all the time. That's why we need a savior.
When I write, I try to give you things to think about. I try not to use labels because labels cloud the mind. Sometimes I do not agree with what people say, but I think it was Voltaire who said, "I may not believe in what you say, but I will fight to the end for your right to say it." Now that's really Freedom of Speech!
I want to confess that I do believe in what I have written. There's much more, but I'm only trying to arouse your curiosity. All of this makes for wonderful discussion!
Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org