“Living up to the lofty standards of Jesus is impossible in the real world” stated Jane in response to her husband Bob’s comment “ask yourself what Jesus would do?” After 15 years of marriage, Jane and Bob are experiencing significant challenges in their relationship. Jane is also experiencing a great deal of frustration with her career. To further complicate matters, Bob is a very religious person while Jane has spent most of her adult life rebelling against what she describes as “a rigid, religious upbringing, wrought with hypocrisy”. Bob firmly believes in living the 10 commandments while Jane gives them very little thought. This scenario prompted me to ask myself two questions. First, how hard is it to live the 10 commandments in today’s fast paced, high tech world? Second, does is really matter what Jesus would do? After all, it’s our life experience to live as we choose.
I decided to take an objective look at the 10 Commandments and see if maybe it was in fact “impossible to live up to the lofty standards of Jesus” while navigating through today’s world.
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS…
1. I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD. Sounds reasonable to me, someone has to be in charge. Seriously, regardless of our religious affiliation, we must possess a great deal of faith to move through our earthly experience. We must have faith in our parents, teachers, political leaders, employers, spouses and most importantly ourselves. Having a healthy respect for GOD establishes a foundation on which we will build our worldly values. This is a great commandment to the get the ball rolling!
2. DON’T WORSHIP FALSE IDOLS. Madison Avenue executives work tirelessly to convince us the key to success and happiness is our ability to make money and purchase cool, fashionable, stuff. Celebrity spokespeople, on behalf of corporations, look into the camera and seductively encourage us to be one of the “cool kids” by signing up for their credit card, driving their luxury car or vacationing on their amazing cruise ship. We must not base our self worth on our ability to accumulate money and stuff. This is an emotionally healthy commandment.
3. DON’T USE THE LORDS NAME IN VAIN. There are thousands of words in the English language and some of us choose to use the ones that incorporate our creator and his son. I recommend GOSH DANG and JEEZY WHEEZY as two good alternatives. Beyond using the Lords name in vain, we are well served to stay away from insensitive speech toward people of different ethnic, religious or economic backgrounds. Cleaning up our language and speaking in a respectful manner is the foundation of this commandment.
4. KEEP THE SABBATH HOLY. Different religions observe the Sabbath on different days. Mine happens to be on Sunday. The Sabbath is an abstinence from work. It’s a time to re-charge our batteries. Most importantly, it’s a time to celebrate our creator. This commandment brings to light the importance of rest.
5. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER. Beyond our parents, I interpret this to mean respecting our elders, teachers, employers, law enforcement officers or anyone else who is a person of influence or authority. Being courteous and compassionate is a great way to be in relationship with our family of origin as well as the world around us. This commandment encourages us to be respectful people.
6. DON’T MURDER ANYBODY. This commandment is dead on. Nothing kills momentum like a trip to prison. All puns aside, this commandment speaks to anger management. Most murders are committed in a moment of rage, however, many are planned and executed because of greed and envy. For example, most of us have seen a story on Dateline involving a “hired hit man” that is paid to kill an unsuspecting business partner. If you find yourself feeling intense anger, greed, envy, jealousy or any other low level emotion, I encourage you to seek help. The Ego is very powerful and in one irrational moment lives can be changed forever. This commandment encourages us to use self control.
7. DON’T COMMIT ADULTERY. Sex is a very powerful drive. Adultery is a selfish act that can have life changing consequences. Today’s business environment presents a plethora of opportunities to find ourselves in a compromising position. Business travel, social engagements and employer intimidation can lead to acts of sexual indiscretion. I encourage my clients not to use sex as a means of getting even. If you find yourself moving toward an adulterous act, I recommend engaging a coach or therapist to help you put your thoughts and feelings into perspective. A 20 minute indiscretion can haunt you and your loved for the next 20 years. This commandment encourages us to keep our clothes securely fastened.
8. DON’T STEAL. Many of us equate stealing with shoplifting, burglary or white collar crime. I contend that many of us steal everyday and don’t give it a second thought. We steal from our family when we stop off at the bar on the way home from work. We steal from our employer when we surf our social media sites during work time or we “fudge” on our expense reports. We steal from our government when we routinely apply for entitlement benefits rather than seek a job. We steal from our country when we protest against our military or we fail to cast our vote in elections. This commandment encourages us to focus on being in integrity.
9. DON’T BEAR FALSE WITNESS. Most of us have seen a television news story about someone being released from prison after new evidence proved they could not have committed the crime they served time for. Knowingly ruining someones life in this manner is pure evil. At one time or another, all of us have gotten caught up in gossip. The purveyor of gossip usually has a gleam in their eye as they share the latest dirt on some unsuspecting soul. Rather than work harder for a promotion, there are those who choose to start a covert “smear campaign” aimed at someone they consider a threat to their potential promotion. These are three examples of bearing false witness. The extent of the consequences varies but the intention is the same, to cause harm. This commandment instructs us to refrain from lying.
10. DON’T COVET YOUR NEIGHBORS WIFE OR HIS BELONGINGS. What we appreciate, appreciates. Many of us hold the false belief that the grass is greener in our neighbors yard. The grass is greener where we water it. Envy is a lower tier emotion and we are well served to run our own race. We can’t expect GOD to bless us with the abundance he desires to deliver, if we are focused on our neighbors house. This commandment encourages us to be grateful for what we have and hold.
There is no doubt in my mind that all of us are capable of living the 10 commandments. It’s a choice we can make everyday. Asking ourselves “what would Jesus do” serves as a reminder to take the higher ground when we are faced with life’s temptations. I know what Jesus would do matters to me.
John Page Burton is a life and business coach and the author of two books. To learn more visithttp://www.johnpageburton.com