Are You a Good Person?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You Will Not Covet

This is the last of the Ten Commandments, but it's pretty inclusive. The word covet means "to want ardently (esp., something that another person has); long for with envy," and has synonyms of, "desire, envy, wish for; see envy, want." What's more, covet is a verb, not a noun or an adjective. It mean you are actually doing something. When the word "covet" is used, I think it is all too often vague for most of us, but when we change it to "desire" or "want" this commandment takes on a life. It seems like a strong hand strangling the very life out of you. For who doesn't have wants, desires, goals, ambitions? How many of us have wanted something simply because someone else had one?

Parents, here is a good teaching tool, but you must learn to live the truth of it as well. When a child says, "Aw, come on. All the other kids have one," tell them that they are guilty, already, before God for coveting something that is not their's. "All the other kids get to go to dances!" young Mary whines. "Oh, so you would covet this before God? You would give away the treasures He has to have what they have?" Now, you know they're going to bristle at this. So be gentle with the way you use it. The Law isn't meant to clobber people and beat them down. It is meant to train and teach. And if they must make mistakes to learn, do you, as parents love them any less? So it is with God. We will be looking at this in future posts. For now, teach, train, guide your children, and yes, yourself, so that you don't want something because someone else has it.

Confession time! I remember back when everyone had CB radios. My dad had one, of course he is an amateur radio operator to begin with. Then my brother got one. I felt I NEEDED one. I've actually had two or three. They were mildly amusing and helped time go by on long trips. But did I really need it? No, I got it because others had it. I coveted what my dad and my brother, and what seemed like everyone else had. If you must covet something, covet this, a closer walk with God, a love from Him that controls the way you think about yourself and others, and moves you to reach out and give. Covet this and you will do well. Covet the things of people and you will always, always, find yourself ensnared by them to one degree or another.

You Will Not Bear False Witness

In Exodus 20:16 we have a commandment which people have translated to mean the same as "Thou shalt not lie!" Now, while I agree that lying is a sin, bearing false witness is specific kind of lie. In the legal profession, it is called perjury, a prosecutable offense even in our courts.

Some of you may be breathing a sigh of relief, thinking I've finally come across a sin that you are not guilty of. Do you ever judge a person? Have you ever said, "Why doesn't that idiot get in the other lane if he wants to drive so slow?" or "Ms. Jones is a real pain in the neck as a teacher"? These are judgments which we have no right or authority to make. When we say things like this we often know they are lies or at the very least, exaggerations. Either way we have perjured ourselves before a Holy God, who alone is Righteous, having the authority to be Judge over all.

Perjury o being a false witness is the same as being a hypocrite, isn't it? It is a direct attack on someone else, using the weapon of the tongue. When we attack another we might just as well attack Jesus, for He who answered them, "When saw we thee an hungered and fed thee? or thirsty and gave thee to drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took the in? or naked and clothed thee? or when saw we thee sick or in prison and came unto thee?" to which Jesus replied, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Likewise He says to those who reused any such help, "Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not unto me."

We know that there are no levels of sin, for sin is disobedience to God. Yet this disobedience is an attack on God. Watch, therefore, what comes out of your mouth, for it will reveal what is in your heart. Better you should fill up your heart with good things, feasting on the Word of God, and spending times of fellowship with Him who is love. Then when you do open your mouth, good will come out, not evil. You will not perjure yourself before your God.