Saturday, November 15, 2008

Qualified Commandments?

My favorite reading copy of the New Testament has this Carl Bloch painting to to illustrate the Sermon on the Mount. As I was reading Matthew's account this morning, I kept coming back to the picture; I noticed that some of the listeners seem to be accepting what is said, while others are portrayed turned half away from the Lord, as if they don't like what they hear. Perhaps they find they can only agree with part of what the Master says.
I wonder how often we accept a commandment in principle, but add private qualifications?

Thou Shalt Not Steal (but cheating on a tax return is OK)

Thou Shalt Not Kill (unless it's an unborn child)

Thous Shalt not Commit Adultery/whosoever who looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already with her in his heart (But if it's just internet pornography it isn't important)

Thou shalt have no gods before me/Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart (but if you favorite sports team is playing on Sunday it's OK to miss church to watch)

Love thy neighbour as thyself (unless you hear a really juicy piece of gossip about them; then it's OK to pass it on)

1 comment:

3 for school said...

I had a similar experience recently. When we were studying the government in a Christian co-op, the leader read a verse that said to trust no man to be your leader who drinks any wine. (or something like that)

The leader immediately qualified it to say that a leader should not get drunk. Hmmmm....I think the Lord has no problem addressing drunkenness in so many words elsewhere in the Old Testament; I wonder why here or could it be he meant it exactly?!