The Commandments

All Three Parts By Father James Chelich

THE COMMANDMENTS Part I Principles of Personal Integrity Father James Chelich – 2000 1. The secret to loving and following the Commandments is to DESIRE the KIND OF WORLD to which the Commandments lead. A WORLD in which… people strive to understand and honor the integrity of each person and element in creation, people stop and think about what they say and do and then ask themselves what they would do differently, people are more grateful than they are demanding, people pay heart-felt attention to their families of origin and are motivated to forgive, to heal, and to grow, violence is abhorred not glamorized or fantasized as entertainment people look at your spouse, find them attractive, value your relationship and think about how they might honor it, people take more delight in what they have than dwell on what they don’t, greed does not go unbridled A WORLD where there is… no multi-generational poverty, no disenfranchised class, no alienated segment of society, no permeant “losers”, no root of bitterness across generations. A WORLD in which the goal of the social order is redemptive: the re-enfranchisement, inclusion, and integration of all in a life-giving whole. If you have no desire for that world, then the Commandments make no sense and become only constrictive rules of “do” and “don’t”. 2. The Commandments are a GIFT from a loving God who takes seriously humanity’s longing for a world where people live in right- and life-giving relationship with God, with one another and with the elements of nature around them. The Commandments are the REVEALED PATH to that world. 3. This kind of world requires PERSONAL INTEGRITY. This kind of world will never come to be without personal integrity, a SPECIFIC KIND of personal integrity. The Ten Commandments are these PRINCIPLES OF INTEGRITY. I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. A whole and free human being: 1) acknowledges the existence of a Power and a Wisdom greater than their own, 2) walks in this world not as a “god” but as a creature made in the image and likeness of God, 3) seeks to know and lived the principles of constructive relationship with God and all things. You shall not take the NAME of the LORD, your God, in vain. God is not a power to be manipulated or a force to be controlled but a Person with whom to interact. The name of GOD is a gift given in friendship. Calling on the name of God makes us aware that we are connected to existence in a personal, not an impersonal way. The name of God is not a weapon for abuse. Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, your God. No work may be done… Stopping, being silent, reflecting, listening and being grateful are absolutely essential to remaining human and to preserving a humane world. Honor your father and mother. You must pay attention to the personal origin of your life, not deny it or live in resentment of it. You owe your parents understanding of their wounds and weaknesses, resolve to heal and rectify them in yourself, gratitude for the blessings they were able to give, and a resolve to build upon all that was good and noble in them. You shall not kill. Dealing death to any human being, under any circumstances, inflicts a deep trauma to the human person and the fabric of mankind. Even if done in defense it requires remorse, cleansing and spiritual healing. You shall not commit adultery. The sexual bond of husband and wife is sacred. It is the dynamic in which life is conceived, a school for intimate relationship, a supportive context for personal growth, the foundation of the family, and the most elemental cell of human community. To violate it is to violate all of these. You shall not steal. Trust is the foundation upon which human community is built. Your honesty is connected to the peace and security of others. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Honesty is the foundation of Justice and Freedom. The truth of your word is connected to your freedom, the freedom of others, and justice for all. You shall not covet your neighbors wife. Even in your thoughts, the bond of each person with their husband and wife is sacred and inviolable. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods. Envy will distort your gifts, erode your talents, destroy your creativity, consume your mind and burn down the world. THE COMMANDMENTS Part II Principles of Social Integrity Father James Chelich – 2000 Building on a foundation of PERSONAL INTEGRITY (the Ten Commandments), God also reveals principles of SOCIAL INTEGRITY. In setting forth SOCIAL COMMANDMENTS, God reveals moral principles of critical concern for a healthy human community. The SOCIAL COMMANDMENTS call for a specific character to the social order: If one of your kinsmen in any community is in need in the land.. you shall not harden your heart nor close your hand to him in his need. Instead, you shall open your hand to him and freely lend him enough to meet his need… Deuteronomy 15:7-11 You shall not go about spreading slander among your kinsmen; nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake. Lev. 19:16 A proactive concern for others must be fostered in society’s ethics and in the social order. Indifference to the plight of others is a moral evil. When your countryman becomes so impoverished beside you that he sells you his services, do not make him work as a slave. Rather, let him be like a hired servant or like your tenant, working with you…Do not lord it over them harshly, but stand in fear of your God. Leviticus 25:39-43 You shall not defraud a poor and needy hired servant, whether he be one of your own countrymen or one of the aliens who live in your communities. You shall pay him each day’s wages before sundown on the day itself, since he is poor and looks forward to them. Deuteronomy 24:14-15 No one shall take a hand mill or even its upper stone as a pledge for debt, for he would be taking the debtor’s sustenance as a pledge. Deuteronomy 24:6 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset; for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body. Exodus 22:25-26 Provision must be made in the social order to protect the vulnerability of those who have fallen on hard times. You may never remove a person’s means of sustaining themselves. Opportunity to recover must be extended. When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to its very edge, nor shall you glean the stray ears of grain. Likewise, you shall not pick your vineyard bare, nor gather up the grapes that have fallen. These things you shall leave for the poor and the alien. Lev 19:9-10 Provision must be made in the social order for those who live in destitution. You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgement. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your fellow men justly. Lev 19:15 Rigorous honesty and uncompromised fairness is essential in the social order. You shall not curse the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. Lev. 19:13-14 Stand up in the presence of the aged, and show respect for the old; thus shall you fear your God. Lev. 19:32 Social structures and procedure must respect the basic human dignity of all, especially the weak and impaired. When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest him. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you… Lev. 19:33 There is to be no distinction between the treatment of the native or the foreigner. At the end of every seven-year period you shall have a relaxation of debts, which shall be observed as follows. Every creditor shall relax his claim on what he has loaned his neighbor; he must not press his neighbor, his kinsman… Deut 15:1-2 Provision must be made for individuals to reorganize and manage debt with a view to their renewed ability to meet their responsibilities. Seven weeks of years shall you count — seven times seven years — so that the seven cycles amount to forty-nine years… This fiftieth year you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you… Lev 25:8-12 The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine, and you are but aliens who have become my tenants. When one of your countrymen is reduced to poverty and has to sell some of his property…what he has sold shall remain in the possession of the purchaser until the Jubilee, when it must be released and returned to its original owner. Lev. 25:23-28 The opportunities of the next generation must not be foreclosed upon by the negligence or poor choices of the generation before. Neither shall you allege the example of the many as an excuse for doing wrong, nor shall you, when testifying in a lawsuit, side with the many in perverting justice. Exodus 23:2 “Everyone does it” is morally unacceptable. By the provision of these Social Commandments there is: no disenfranchised class, no alienated segment of society, no permanent “losers”, no root of bitterness across generations. The goal of society is redemptive: the re-enfranchisement, inclusion, and integration of all in a life-giving whole. The human world of God’s design is free of multi-generational poverty and abject destitution. The social world to which the Commandments lead is a world where all have opportunity and all are responsible for the ways in which they use opportunity. THE COMMANDMENTS Part III Jesus and the Commandments Father James Chelich – 2000 “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was in God’s presence, and the Word was God… Through Him all things came into into being, and apart from Him nothing came to be… The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” John 1:1,3,14 Jesus is the Word of God become flesh. As the divine Word of God, Jesus is the author and origin of the principles of Personal Integrity (Ten Commandments) and the principles of Social Integrity (Social Commandments) we find in the Old Testament. Jesus “fills full” the Commandments that call for Personal and Social Integrity Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets. I have come, not to abolish them, but to fulfill them. Matthew 5:17ff You heard the commandment… ‘You shall not commit murder.’ What I say to you is: everyone who grows angry with his brother shall be liable to judgement. You heard the commandment… ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ What I say to you is: anyone who looks lustfully at a person has already committed adultery with them in their thoughts. Through Jesus, with him and in him we find the ability to live the Commandments and bring into reality the just world to which they lead. “The law is holy and the commandment is holy and just and good…Romans 7:12 (But) I am weak flesh sold into the slavery of sin… Even though I want to do what is right, a law that leads to wrongdoing is always ready at hand. My inner self agrees with the Law of God, but I see in my body’s members another law at war with the Law of God in my mind…(Romans 7:14,21-23) What a wretched man I am! Who can free me from this body under the power of death? (Romans 7:24) God sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering thereby condemning sin in the flesh, so that the just demands of the Law might be fulfilled in us who live…according to the spirit. (Romans 8:3-4) We are brought into right-relationship with God by Christ so that living in him and He living in us we might be able to live the Commandments in their fullness. “To those who are called, Jews and Gentiles alike, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Cirinthians 1:24 Jesus alters the Ritual Prescriptions for Worship and Community Membership Jesus changes the way people and things are made “clean”: no longer from the outside in, but from the inside out: Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! John 1:29 If we acknowledge our sins, he who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong. 1 John 1:9 Here me, all of you, and try to understand. Nothing that enters a man from outside can make him impure; that which comes out of him, and only that, constitutes impurity… Thus did he render all foods clean. Mark 7:14-19 Jesus changes religion. The Temple is no longer a building made of stones in Jerusalem. It is a the body of believers in Jesus who are built up as living stones with Jesus the keystone. The sacrifice is no longer sheep and bulls. It is the presentation and offering of one eternal sacrifice: Jesus, the Lamb of God. Because Jesus is our God come to be with us, the whole essential dynamic of religion is radically changed: it is no longer worshiping before God, it is now living in communion with God. You will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… An hour is coming, and is already here, when authentic worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth. John 4:21,23 Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up… He was talking about the temple of his body. John 2:8-21 This is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life. Him I will raise up on the last day. John 6:40 I solemnly assure you, no one can enter into God’s Kingdom without being begotten of water and Spirit. John 3:5 Let me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. John 6:52 Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples. ‘Take this and eat it…this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them. ‘All of you must drink from it…for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:26-28 ‘Do this as a remembrance of me.’ Luke 22:19 I have given them the glory you gave me that they may be one, as we are one — I living in them, you living in me — that their unity may be complete. John 17:22-23