Recently, our pastor has been teaching on the “Ten Commandments”. One by one, he has been teaching what it is, why we should obey it, and how we should put into to practice in our lives. It has been lovingly put forth in a way that is relational and helpful without bashing anyone with legalism. The pastor reiterated the point of these commandments which is to bring us to right relationship with God, not by simply performing, but realizing that God has gracefully provided for us a way to show Him our love. He already did the work. There is nothing that we can do ourselves to gain the love of our Father. He is love. He already loves us. He has already paid the price for our sin to be washed away and for our relationships to be reconciled with Him. All we need to do is receive it.
Over the last couple of months, someone close to me has been going through a really tough time. This person was putting his own needs behind the wants and desires of another person. He would try everything just to try to make this person happy not just with him but with herself as well. No matter what he did or how much he did, she was not happy. He began trying harder and harder to please her. He would rationalize that she was struggling and he couldn’t bear to see her hurt. He would clean their apartment for her. He would do their laundry. He would make excuses to his family why he couldn’t be at family functions or why he didn’t visit, all the while she just didn’t want to go. This became more and more draining on him.
Then, after she asked him to stay home from work and clean the apartment thoroughly, he came across and a small, empty blue box marked “Trojans”. Their pet had ripped a hole in the bottom of the garbage bag in her excitement. And out came this little box. Near the little box in that same bag were a couple of opened wrappers. His heart sank and became a puddle at his feet. His hands began to shake. He began to sweat. Then he began to try and rationalize it away. He didn’t want to face reality. And that reality was that this person that he tried desperately to please and to help and that he loved with everything that he was, this person found pleasure in someone else. This person could not bring herself to tell him the truth. She lied to him over and over again. It was devastating.
He loved her so much, and he accepted everything about her. And he was upfront about everything. She stated that she needed space. So he gave that to her. She asked him to stay at his mother’s house a lot. So, wanting to help her mental and emotional health, he complied. He worried about her. He cared for her in ways that no one else has – and likely no other human being will. Even when she had health issues, he was so very attentive to her. She would become nauseous from a certain food that so happened to be one of his very favorite foods. He gave it up and completely avoided it for her sake. He catered to her every want, and yet, it was not enough.
She repeatedly used his naivety against him, and she began being intimate with someone else. During the times he was at his mother’s house per her request, she would see this other person. He would ask her where she went, and she would make something up. He believed her. He didn’t believe that she would tell him that she loved him and wanted to marry him while talking about future plans for their lives and then turn around and violate the intimacy that they shared. He trusted her.
The fact that she repeatedly violated their relationship broke him. It was again devastating. And this commandment, “Do not bear false witness against your neighbor,” would have helped to save this pain and heartache. Had she been upfront and honest with him (that she did not want to be in a relationship with him anymore and that she wanted to be with someone else), he wouldn’t have abruptly packed his things and left instead of cleaning the apartment. He began to hurt more and more with every step he took and with every item he packed away. He kept asking himself what had he done to deserve this heinous, horrible betrayal. And the truth is, he didn’t deserve it. However, it happened anyway.
I have been reading a book by Dr. Paul Chaloux called “Why All People Suffer: How a Loving God Uses Suffering to Perfect Us.” In it, on page 139, he says, “But the point of suffering is to drive people to the ultimate good, which is union with God, while motivating virtuous behavior here on earth.” He goes on to say on page 147, “God gave humans moral consciences the debt of punishment to sin to deter it, and allowed the victims to suffer so that they too would be motivated to ignite the sinner’s conscience through their witness.”
Romans 2:5-8 says, “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”
We have got to remember to be honest in our conversations. Loving others in truth and righteousness helps whereas deceit and disrespect may cause irreversible harm. There is just too much distrust in the world, and it seems to only be getting worse. The best way to combat that is to be obedient in love to Our Loving Father Who gave us this outline of the “Ten Commandments”. He did not give these to us as a mere “Do and Don’t Do” list. He gave it for our flourishing and the flourishing of those around us. Manipulation and falsities do not honor God and they certainly do not honor ourselves.
The next best step for these people to take is to pray and seek out forgiveness: first from God and then from each other. This does not mean that they can go back to the way things were. It just means that they can move on and become closer with the Lord.
Gotta go fill up my cup…..