God's loving gift: the Ten Commandments

One summer day while taking a walk, I passed a house where a tiny child stood just inside the screen door. She cried and beat on the door, but to no avail. It was locked. Then her mother came to the door, picked her up, and carried her outside into the sunshine. "I keep the door locked so she doesn't run into the street," the mother said to me. "She is so fast that sometimes I can't catch her in time, and she doesn't yet understand why I forbid her to play in the street."

As I witnessed the child's reaction, I recognized a similarity to the way we may sometimes view the Ten Commandments in the Bible—as restrictive to our freedom. But this view misses the whole point. These Commandments protect our freedom so that we are not taken in by the enslaving tendencies of a false, carnal sense of life. This false sense, claiming that life is in matter rather than in Spirit, would lead us astray in every aspect of our human affairs. The material sense of existence would argue that in order to survive in a hostile environment we must break God's law. The false sense also argues that sin is a necessity.

The ten-mile hike
December 18, 1995

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