Where did the gray come from? Are there gray areas in the Bible? In today’s society we are taught to be politically correct and tolerant, there is no black and white; all is gray. Raising kids in these times is a struggle. The world is far more vocal in their life then the church. While the world agrees on some black/white issues like murder and stealing, the majority of the 10 commandments are so blurred in the eyes of the world that our children must be guarded with truth at home, church and everywhere in between.
Do you remember learning the 10 commandments at church and getting an award? Again, we need to get back to teaching our children the basics. Yes, the 10 commandments are Old Testament, and we are not saved by laws but, by His grace. But Jesus taught the Ten Commandments in the way He lived and talked. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18, ” 17Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” We live our lives under adherence to these laws by God’s grace. We should teach our children the 10 commandments by the way we live.
Can you name them and what they mean? (This is a more expanded section on the Ten Commandments from my post)
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
1. Do not worship other gods – What do your children see as your ‘gods’? In other words, what is your priority?
- Is it Self? Does mom and dad’s needs come before God or children?
- Career? Are you the workaholic whose main priority is to climb the corporate ladder?
- Money? Are you consumed with prestige and beating out the Jones, Smiths and Rockefeller’s?
- Sports? Are you living for the gym or sports team; skipping worship for the gym, golf, sports game?
- Clothes? Do you have to have the latest clothes, styles, shoes, hairstyle, manicure, pedicure? Do you spend more time on your appearance then in your quiet time?
- Family? Do you put your spouse and children before God? Do their wants and desires usurp His place in the family? If you allow this then you are placing them first.
Other ‘gods’ means anything or any person that is placed ahead of God. Nothing is bad in itself, it is where you place its priority, what you sacrifice to get it. Jesus showed this in Matthew 4: 10 when dealing with satan* tempting Him. 10Jesus said to him, “Away from me, satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’
2. Do not worship idols – The first commandment is about your priorities. The second commandment deals with your understanding of who God is and how to worship Him. What do your children see you use to form your view of God? The Israelites wanted visual interpretations, idols, images to help them to worship God. God says He wants us to worship Him, not through a speaker, preacher, musician, or book.
There are those that hold sacred a symbol, the Cross, a WWJD item, a picture, etc. However, satan has become much more subtle. What are you showing your children to worship or allowing them to worship? A speaker? There are those that take a speaker and/or their message and make it their ‘word’. God is bigger then that. You must get to know Him through one on one time with HIM, not vicariously through conferences, speakers, books. These are great tools, however they are not a substitute for your time alone with God. Your children need to be taught they need time alone with God. Too many are allowing the tools to form their child’s relationship with God. When their eyes are on a ‘tool’, a ‘messenger’ and not the message then when those fail or fall, their view of God is damaged. What’s you and your child’s view being formed by? A musical group? How often to you hear someone, yourself or child leaving a service, conference or concert and the conversation is all about the speaker, singers, instruments. When you leave a time of worship and what is on the tip of your tongue is NOT the MESSAGE but, the MESSENGER, you are worshiping idols. Of course it is OK to talk about the messenger, but too many times it has become the only focus and the message is lost. Sadly there are many ‘groupies’ of speakers, preachers and musicians who put the messenger over the message. Jesus said in John 4:23 “23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”
3. Do not misuse God’s name – We all think we are careful with this one I am sure. Are we? We hear His name taken in vain in profanity on a daily basis. Sometimes it is in personal conversation, other times it is in a TV show, a movie or a book. Are you willing to walk away from a conversation? Ask someone not to use His name? Would you change the TV show, leave the theater or close the book? Your kids are watching. Do you know what the later part of this verse says? Exodus 20:7, 7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name. Is it possible to misuse His name in other ways than words uttered? We are CHRISTians. Do our actions, our way of life misuse His name? Jesus said in Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?”
4. Keep the Sabbath holy – The Hebrew word Sabbath, means “to cease, to pause or take an intermission.” That means you take the sabbath each week to rejoice in the Lord, celebrate His creation, and learn about Him. It is not a day of ‘religious activities’ and rituals. It is a day of assembling in His house and meeting Him, receiving His message and worshiping Him. If your children see you going to church to socialize, be seen, or as a duty, then you are not keeping the Sabbath holy. We all know that satan loves to attack on Sunday. Anything he can do to keep us from going and/or get us grumbling. Sometimes it is just the social and entertaining value that keeps us from meeting the Lord on the Sabbath. God made this a commandment for our sake, for our relationship with Him. Jesus said in Mark 2:27, “Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
5. Honor your father & mother – This commandment comes with a promise … “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). For some reason many see this as a children’s command. However, it was important to God to list it as a command. This command and the following five are conduct, or behavior commands. When children are taught in the home to honor their parents, you are setting a pattern of behavior for how they learn to honor and worship God and how they treat others including peers and elders. One does not cease to honor because they are older. For some it will mean physical care and support. But it always means to show respect. To listen and learn from them all your years. Of course as adults you make your own decisions. And in cases where Christians do not have godly parents then they must follow God’s guidance regardless of ridicule of un-saved loved ones. I often refer to the ‘big picture’. God is our Heavenly Father and we are to honor Him. We teach our children that honor by showing honor to our parents, their grandparents. Even at 33 years old, at His death, Jesus honored His mother and showed love and concern for her when He saw to her welfare after His death. John 19: 26-27 ” 26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”
6. Do not murder – We all feel safe here I am sure. However, we murder in our thoughts. We allow our children to watch things that make them insensitive to anger which is murder in our thoughts. This commandment, like the fifth, is directed at our behavior. Jesus said in Matthew 5:22 “22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
7. Do not commit adultery – Marriage is the foundation of the family. Our TV shows, movies, books and magazines attack the ordination of marriage constantly. Here again is the big picture, Jesus the groom, His church the Bride. No adultery, no divorce in that relationship. We need to show our children God’s plan for marriage based on His plan for our relationship with Him. You need to help your children understand what the Bible teaches; even if you have found yourself, through choices of your own, not in God’s plan for marriage, teach them. For some you will have to explain the choices you made that were wrong: choice of spouse, alcohol, drugs, money … whatever got you off the plan God had for you. Or, if you came to Christ after those choices, you need to make a conscious decision to teach your children the consequences of wrong choices. For others, it means you will select different TV shows, movies, books, etc. Do not desensitize your children to adultery by exposing it to them daily. You are subconsciously giving them your acceptance. God does not accept adultery in your relationship with Him, or in our relationships on earth. Jesus says you are guilty even if you do not commit the act. Don’t kid yourself and think just because you have not acted on your thoughts that you are not guilty. Our actions begin in our minds. Matthew 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
8. Do not steal – Here again we think we are safe. We have not robbed a bank or store. That is the obvious. There are little ways we show children that stealing is OK. And we all know that they can turn that into something bigger. From cheating on taxes, to taking home work supplies, the list is too long to start. I thought I would focus instead on how we steal from God. We take time, possessions, family and other blessings and make them OURS instead of being stewards over what He has given us. Our time? We never give even 10% of our time back working for Him. Our money? Do we honestly give 10% or do we rationalize what the amount is that we are giving 10% of – pretax, gross, net, found money? Possessions? Ever open your home up to visiting ministers, missionaries, youth groups, etc.? If you give 10% is that all you have to give? How about your family and blessings – are those God’s or yours. Would you give a son or daughter to ministry? Our children are watching what we take from God and what we give back. Are we stealing from God? We take so much and give so little. Matthew 16:26 “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”
9. Do not lie – I won’t name names but I can think of two incidences right now of Christians who rationalize sin. (1) Says that it’s not a lie if you are going to tell them the truth eventually – in other words, you’re just teasing them. (2) It’s not a lie if it does not hurt anyone and something good comes from the lie. Throughout the Bible we are told that God is truth, His way is truth, His word is truth. God is pure. There is no gray area in truth. It is either truth or lie. The fact that you should not lie is a commandment tells you how important truth is to God. Catch yourself in half-truths, white lies, little exaggeration, fibs … they are LIES. Call them for what they are. If you do not then you will be teaching your children to lie and we all know one lie leads to another. This character trait leads to other problems. Lying is a sin. We think of it as a small sin. There are no small sins. Sin leads to separation from God and even more sin. Soon your conscience is dulled and you end up walking a life away from God. God does not like for us to tell lies. Jesus says in Matthew 12:36, “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”
10. Do not covet – Covet is want or desire. In our materialistic world we have brought our children into, is it any wonder we hear them say “I want” more than many other phrases? We rush to the store to get the latest in cars, clothes, phones, TVs and all the time are teaching our children to covet. God says He will give us our needs, not our wants. Somewhere along the way we have decided we have a right to our wants as well. There is nothing wrong with material things until they fall into the category of the 1st Commandment. They have become our gods, our priorities. We set a standard for ourselves and our children suffer. There are instances where both parents need to work. However, if you are working to obtain things and an easier more prosperous life at the sacrifice of raising the children God has given you, then you are breaking the 1st Commandment. If we covet anything it should be to be more like Him. Covetousness is the root of many of the other sins. Someone covets and it leads to a lie, adultery, theft, a murder. We should not focus our lives on wants. Matthew 6:25-35 says, “25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life. 28And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t. I refuse to give him any status of importance. He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.