In the AA 12 Step program they always mention that their Steps are suggestions, that if followed have a high rate of success to maintain sobriety. Since the framework of these Steps came from the Bible, please allow me to make a radical suggestion to you.
Think of the 10 Commandments as 10 Suggestions. (I might be stepping into the fire here, but bear with me please.)
Since they were nailed to the cross and a public spectacle was made out of them and the Law, maybe it would be easier to follow these Commandments if we process them through a funnel of love. This would much easier to teach to people who have led a life of dysfunction and have never been very good at following orders. Let me explain.
As Jesus stated, "The greatest of these is to love the Lord your God with all your (heart and soul), and to love your neighbor as yourself,” he was letting us in on a secret to spiritual fulfillment. If you remember, nobody could ever keep the Commandments. What would make us any different? Love, not Thou Shalt Not's.
Think of telling a child that you must never do that, or as Adam and Eve who were told, do anything you want, but don't eat that! Sure, I am playing on words, but I am also appealing to our hearts. You see, because I love you, I won't take your stuff, lie to you or want to own everything you have. I won't murder you or try to sleep with your wife. And I will do my absolute best to respect you and show you how great God is. But I won't wag my fingers in your face telling you how bad you are, and say one thing and do another. That's the basis of love, not wanting to hurt ourselves or another.
So, let's just say that we do love the Lord with all our heart and soul. That means every time we hurt him or others (and it will happen no matter how good we are at loving), we will feel really bad that we did, and maybe we won't do it again. I am suggesting to you that a life of Love is the more excellent way than a life of being judgmental and trying to be perfect. It'll never happen no matter how hard we try.
The 10 Suggestions are the same as the Commandments, but they come from a different place of faith. I love you so much that I don't want to disappoint the one who saved my life, (nailed to the cross, written on our hearts, not tablets), nor do I want to hurt you intentionally. And because you are my neighbor, I will be the best neighbor you ever had, because that's the way I love myself.......because I followed the Suggestions of the Lord.
Remember we are alot like kids, we rebel at being told what to do (just like Adam & Eve), and we respond so much better to a call to Love than a call not to do something. So hug your neighbor, love your kids, send Dusty notes about how good he does, not ones that complain, and especially this Sunday, walk up to an Elder and thank them for always having your back, and for holding us accountable when we act like children.
Love every day like it was your last!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.