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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Strong Medicine

The first three or four commandments (depending on how you number them) of the Ten Commandments addressed our relationship with God. The remaining commandments dealt with our relationships to each other. Jesus taught that the two greatest commandments were “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.” He taught that all of the commandments are grounded in these two.

If there had been no rebellion from God, would these commandments have been needed? I don’t think so. I think we would have been so thoroughly integrated into God’s character that these behaviors would have been instinctive. What threw humanity of the track was an illusion of injustice. The sin in the garden was accepting an illusion that framed God as tyrant and us as gods. As I reflect on the ten commandments, it strikes me that they all have one common theme: They are all related to our human desire to be in control, or as Genesis puts it “to become as God.”

Having no other gods, not making graven images, and using God’s name falsely all address our desire manipulate God for our ends. As George Bernard Shaw said, “God created us in his image. We decided to return the favor.” The Sabbath stands against our frenetic striving to be ever more in control.

Honoring father and mother speaks to a desire for power and autonomy so strong that we would subvert what should be the most nurturing of relationships. Our rebellion against godly authority becomes rebellion against earthly authority.

So consumed are we with our desire for power and autonomy that we will end the life of another to get what want. We will destroy the oneness of marriage in order to fulfill our basest desires. We will take what belongs to others and pass it off as our own. We will spin lies and deceptions in order to gain or protect what power and autonomy we can. Even if we don’t act on our desire, we will compare our lives to other people’s lives. We will nurture such a longing for their status that we will destroy meaningful relationships with others and develop contempt for what we have been given. Such was the nature of the world into which God spoke these commandments.

The Ten Commandments are strong medicine intended to disillusion us and expose the truth of who God is and what he wants for us. Creating a disillusioned people in the midst of world full of illusion was God’s means of disillusioning the world.


At July 29, 2005 2:59 PM, Anonymous will spotts said...

I wonder.

If the intent of these is to disillusion us, perhaps their chief purpose is to point us to God's grace as the only remedy for our situation -- i.e. the need for a Savior, and the need for the Holy Spirit to enable us to live. (I'm reminded of the promise that God would write his laws on our hearts.)

Paul suggests this role of the law.

At July 29, 2005 4:05 PM, Blogger Michael W. Kruse said...

This goes back to the "3 Gs" formula from the Reformation. Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude. If there is no guilt, then there is no need for grace. If there is no grace, then there is not gratitude. If there is no gratitude, then there is no motivation toward change.

God’s commandments show our guilt to us and begin the chain reaction toward transformation. It is the delusion of our own righteousness that blocks us from the journey toward godliness. That is why I think transformation begins with disillusion.

At August 01, 2005 8:14 AM, Blogger don said...

I really enjoy your blogs.
I frequent often.

At August 01, 2005 10:46 AM, Blogger Michael W. Kruse said...

Your Welcome Don. Glad you are enjoying these ramblings. I really enjoy dialog so feel free to jump in anytime the spirit moves!


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