Ten Commandments

What is the essence of sincerity?

Thoughts with regard to the eighth commandment

 

1. Who is my neighbor and what is false testimony? How much easier the eighth commandment ("Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour!") would be if the words "your neighbor" were not there or there were "your friend" there instead. Jesus’ illustration about the Good Samaritan (Lucas 10:25) teaches us that the network of love around us and the acts of mercy recognizing the need determine the idea of "neighbor". God has no respect of persons being not partial (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11). We should not be either. False speech is harmful by far not only on court. Our nowadays "post-reality" society has made it an awfully common practice that if something is told with a media-magnified voice becomes true – whether or not reality is diametrically the opposite of it. Faithful word is not only right but pure, too. Silence can also be false witness. The real point of the eighth commandment is not prohibition either but persuasion. I should spread the truth and stand for it: I should not be silent when truth is violated. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. How can we be sincere? A lot of people identify sincerity with truthfulness. The profound content of sincerity is to be honest with God. When somebody speaks sincerely, he speaks about the essence instead of unimportant things. Sincerity does not necessarily mean to be talkative. (In fact real sincerity speaks little because it focuses on the essence.) A Carthusian monk who has taken a vow of silence can also strongly show the essence of his existence through his life, metacommunications and writings. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. What is real sincerity? The essence of sincerity is our relations to the harmony of the created world of God. If we accept the harmony of the created order of God, we get into the love stream coming from the Holy Trinity. Whether we hear the call of Jesus to love is the only really important decision of our lives. It belongs to real sincerity that we forward the love to others that we have received. It is the essence of our existence to participate in the love chain. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

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How can we remain faithful?

Thoughts concerning the sixth commandment

 

1. In how many ways can we commit fornication? When we have to speak about our sins, we very easily switch to a language that we believe washes those sins sin-free. I bring three examples for this "re-contextualization", which is extremely dangerous. I show on the Biblical example of the rape of Tamar that fornication is an unfortunately good example of that the fall in most of the cases happens step by step when stages follow each other very easily. Devil slinks away fast if he encounters a closed door. Though it is getting easier to him if we have already made the first, the second or the umpteenth "careless" step towards sin. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

2. How can we remain faithful? Fornication is interpreted by the Bible much more extensively than sexuality. Fornication (in an extended sense) is an opposition to the harmony of the created order of God. The real essence of fornication is not betraying our spouse or our previous date but betraying God. To avoid fornication (sexually or generally) our only chance is if we let the Holy Trinity’s love community spread on us. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

3. Purity as a state of life. Purity is cleanness, i.e. it is not the inverse of getting impure but the measure of the closeness to God. Escaping from fornication is not a result of a continuous fight against the evil but accepting the good. Fornication cannot step into the neighborhood of God. The one who already knows the Totality of God’s love will not desire anything better or more. He will realize that Totality is total: there is no bigger totality than Totality. There is no bigger love than God’s love. It is impossible that someone commits fornication who has already been lost in the love of God. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

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What makes a dialogue life determining?

Thoughts related to the fourth commandment

 

1. In how many ways do NOT we honor our parents? The rebellious phase often takes place between the 3rd and the 5th years of the formation of a young person. It is when he realizes for the first time that he himself exists on his own. At the tween age of 11-14 comes the second phase of emancipation when the detachment from parental behavioral patterns starts. At the end of adolescence we start to determine those parental behavioral patterns that we consider false and we do not want to follow. At the time of mid-life crisis the situation starts to turn over: the former parent becomes the child and the former child becomes the parent. Jesus emphasized love towards God and our neighbors (Matthew 22:37-39) instead of respect, as the big commandment.  Love, that is not a fake self-love, creates respect because it loves the other one for what he is and not for our expectations we would like him to be. Let’s love our parents (and we always have a new opportunity for that even if they are not with us any more!) and we will live long on Earth. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

2. Fruits of respect arising from love: how does a determining dialogue develop in our lives? Unconditional love makes us continuously open for the next moment when we can meet a new form of creation. This loving openness is actually not else, but respect. We all can remember one or more such dialogues that have been determining in our lives. Determining dialogues can be absurdly varied. Why is that so? Because in a determining dialogue there are not two but three parties present. The third one is the Holy Spirit, the all-seeing and all-arranging, huge love of our Lord Jesus and the Father. The Father lets us know our lives’ most important messages in the most incredible ways – because He knows well that a significant life-message has to be "presented" to a certain man in a certain moment just in that incredible way in order that he becomes able to receive it. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

3. How can we fulfill the fourth commandment? In a determining dialogue it is determining that we have not determined anything at all during the dialogue but God determines everything. That is if we would like to have determining dialogues in our lives, first we have to learn humility. If we are able to accept the purifying mercy of Jesus we may get closer to represent the Face of Jesus in the world less distorted. If all this has started to take shape in us, we begin to feel that we do not desire to have unnecessary words any more. We long only for the Word of God and for passing it to others. That is how ALL dialogues slowly become determining dialogues in us and around us. The dialogues that we have as parents and also the ones we have as children – with anyone. Because these two, parents and children are in their depth the very same: Jesus. In Jesus we got united with our own parents – and with our children, too. By the grace of our Lord that is how we can fulfil and complete God’s fourth commandment: Honor your father and your mother! (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

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How should we keep holy the name of the Lord and the Lord's day?

Thoughts about the second and the third commandments

 

1. Wrong approaches of honoring God. A lot of people think that it is quite easy to obey the second and the third commandments. "We do not take the name of the Lord in vain, and we go to the church on every Sunday. Okay, on church holidays, too. All right, even on those infrequently visited church holidays, (like Epiphany, Ascension of Jesus, etc.), too, which fall on week days." I must disagree with my brothers and sisters thinking these. Honoring God is not a compliance with rules or a type of behavior. People with divided hearts do not have strength. It is because they do not keep and save Jesus in themselves. They cannot keep Jesus in themselves because it is impossible to accept a half-Jesus. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

2. How should we keep holy the Lord's name? God is not the God of denial but the God of affirmation. God does not take anything away but He gives something. That is we always have to find the affirmative content behind the prohibitive words of the commandments because these carry the real message (Hebrews 10:1). The essence of the second commandment is that I bless the name of the Lord. The presence of God is the presence of the most precious gift in our lives. But if we do not listen to what the gift is that God is willing to give us, we will never receive it. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

3. How should we keep holy the Lord's day? Holidays are signs. They are such signs that have been given to us, people, by the Holy Trinity as a memory of Its love and indelible union. God’s signs though can be interpreted and can become complete only together with the Word of God. If a Christian is only looking for the signs of God he will become a 'raver-Christian'. For a man living in Jesus, every moment of each day becomes a sign. If we consider every moment a sign, the sign of God will be carved on us. The love of Jesus will shine out of us. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

 

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What is Christian identity?

Season opening thoughts about the first commandment

 

1. Our fake Gods, our fake Christianity. A lot of people think that it is quite easy to obey the first commandment. We have been baptized and affirmed our baptism by confirmation. What else is Christian identity, if not this? I have to disagree with the sisters and brothers thinking these. Christian identity is not a set of features. It is not community membership. It cannot be gained. It cannot be possessed. The Lord will only be our sole God if we do not place anything even close to Him that may reach His importance. (For further details, please read my season opening essay here.)

 

2. The roots of Christian identity. The most important source of Christian identity is living in a communion with the Holy Trinity. Looking at the Ten Commandments from the light of the New Testament it is obvious that God’s intention is not to restrict us but to fulfill us. Knowing God’s Totality and experiencing His endless love, we can see that obeying the Ten Commandments becomes a consequence – and not a requirement. The dual communion experienced with God and fellow human beings is not else than the love command of Jesus (Matthew 22:37-39). The specific manifestation of Christian identity’s roots is the prayer, the Sacraments (the baptism and especially the Eucharist) and the Word of God. (For further details, please read my season opening essay here.)

 

3. The trunk and shoots of Christian identity. The first important element of Christian identity’s trunk is the recognition of sin and the fear of God. The most important element of Christian identity’s trunk is the gradual formation of Jesus’ face and His whole self in us. There are a lot of shoots of Christian identity that are individual characteristics of Christian believers. (For further details, please read my season opening essay here.)

 

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