This week: The Ten Commandments Edited by: Kitti
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|The Ten Commandments are a pretty decent basic guide to being a good person. Unfortunately, it's not easy to avoid breaking some of them...|
This week's Spiritual Newsletter, then, is about reflection, realisation and the will to do better.
It’s not always easy to be a good person. Like most people, I try. But I get angry, and upset, and when life’s a struggle it’s easy to mess up. I don’t think I am alone in that.
This led me to think about the Ten Commandments. How many of us can say that they have never broken any of them? I’ve broken several of them. Some of them, I have broken on more than one occasion.
You shall have no other gods before Me.
I haven’t broken this one. As you might know, I’ve had many a struggle throughout the years about my faith/beliefs. I’ve had questions. I’ve had doubts. Yet, I can honestly say that I have not turned to other gods.
You shall not make idols.
The longer text speaks of making a likeness of anything between heaven and earth, and to not bow down to and serve these ‘idols’. I may have broken this commandment. I’m not sure. I’ve made many a drawing, made some plush toys, taken photographs… this may be the creation of a likeness.
I haven’t bowed down to and/or served any of them, but I do remember my teenage years when I had posters of bands and singers all over my walls, and whilst there was no bowing or serving there, either, the boy band - teenage girl dynamic can be pretty intense. Thank goodness that it’s a temporary condition. Thank goodness, also, that when I went through that phase social media wasn’t a thing yet. I see fandoms these days where they actually call the boys they like their ‘idols’, and the intensity level definitely seems even higher than when I was young.
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
I have seen and heard different interpretations of this commandment. Some see it as using phrases such as ‘Oh my God’. Some consider it to mean that if you swear to God that you will or will not do something, and you’ve broken that vow, you have taken God’s name in vain. Others consider anything that brings dishonour to God to fall under this commandment.
I’m probably guilty. I do sometimes say, “Oh my God.” I don’t tend to swear to God that I’ll do or won’t do something, but I have broken promises before, even if I never meant to. I do my best to be honourable, but I’ve let people down. At times, I’ve let myself down. So, I’ve probably let God down.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Guilty. We live in a 24/7 society, don’t we? It was different when I was little. Shops were closed on Sunday. Some of my family went to church. To be honest, I am not even sure what the Sabbath involves. I think many people have stopped observing it, whether on the Saturday or the Sunday, depending on one’s faith.
Honor your father and your mother.
Again, guilty. I do not know my biological father, and he does not sound like a nice man. My mother and I have had a… complicated relationship over the decades. We’re doing well right now, and long may it continue, but we haven’t always been kind to the other.
That said, I am thankful for everything that she has done for me. She’s encouraged my love of reading. Encouraged my creativity. Taught me good manners, and how to get along in society. She helped me with my homework, and there were times when I got into trouble and she had my back.
I try to be there for her, too. Her life hasn’t been easy. As much as I can whilst living in different countries I’ve got her back, now, and am always willing to offer support and a sympathetic ear. I am glad that we’ve overcome the obstacles that stood in the way of a good mother-daughter relationship.
You shall not murder.
You’ll be happy to know that I am not guilty of this one. At least, not when it comes to human beings. Some may find it silly that I feel guilty for accidentally having stood on a snail in the dark, or for having killed a fly, but they’re all living beings. They matter, too. So I do feel some guilt, and always say sorry when it happens.
You shall not commit adultery.
Not guilty. Not much more that I can say about this one, other than that it’s something I just won’t do.
You shall not steal.
Guilty. When I was a child, the supermarket nearby had a pick-and-mix section of all sorts of sweets and I’d sometimes grab one and eat it.
I don’t do that anymore.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
I don’t start lies about people. I don’t (knowingly) spread lies about people. I’d be lying, however, if I said I never lie.
I do tell lies. I don’t like to, but I do. If, for example, new parents ask for my opinion about the latest addition to their family, I’ll tell them that their baby is cute, and other positive phrases, when in all honesty I think most babies resemble wrinkly little potatoes. But you can’t say that. It’d hurt people’s feelings if I did, and I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings, which means telling a lie.
I don’t, then, tell malicious lies. I do my best to avoid causing harm. But I lie, at times. It’s not great, but it is what it is.
You shall not covet.
I’m guilty of this one, too. When, for example, a friend of mine who’d never really shown an interest in writing got commissioned to write a piece for a respected newspaper, I felt a stab of envy. I'd go on to write for them as well, but that envy had been there, whilst I should have felt excited for my friend.
There have been times when I felt like my hard work and accomplishments have been overlooked when others who’d done the same or less received praise and recognition. When that happens, it can hurt and it’s difficult to smile and nod and feel happy for those who did find themselves in the spotlight.
I am not, then, always as good a person as I’d like to be. There is plenty of room for improvement. I acknowledge this, and hope that I’ll do better in the future.
It’s actually been interesting to reflect on where I’m doing okay, and where I fall short. What about you, have you broken any commandments? If you have, well, you’re not alone. It doesn’t mean that you’re a horrible person. I don’t believe that I am. It just means that we’re living and learning, each and every day.
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