Patricia L. Dickson
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14
I frequent Christian websites and blogs to keep up with what is going on in the Christian church in the U.S. and around the world. These Christian websites and blogs chronicles the recent news and events in the church world. The news is however; not good. Every other week, I read about a pastor’s adultery, mishandling of the churches finances, rape, child pornography, Pedophilia , spousal abuse or drug use. This is happening on a regular basis throughout the nation in all Christian denominations. Pastors of all ethnicities and races (mostly male). What is going on?
My concern is not so much with the many false prophets but instead with the size and loyalty of the flocks that they are able to manipulate. How do these men so easily deceive so many Christians? Some members remain loyal to the pastors even after the sins are confessed or exposed. Christians should not be taken by surprise by the exposure of the false prophets in the church today because we were warned about them in the Bible. However, Christians should not be so easily deceived by false prophets. The Bible is clear about the character that the men who lead the church should possess.
6 [These elders should be] men who are of unquestionable integrity and are irreproachable, the husband of [but] one wife, whose children are [well trained and are] believers, not open to the accusation of being loose in morals and conduct or unruly and disorderly.
7 For the bishop (an overseer) as God’s steward must be blameless, not self-willed or arrogant or presumptuous; he must not be quick-tempered or given to drink or pugnacious (brawling, violent); he must not be grasping and greedy for filthy lucre (financial gain);
Maybe the problem lies with the people who fill the pews in the churches rather than the men in the pulpit. What are Christians looking for in a pastor? Are Christians examining the character of the men who they so willingly allow in their pulpits? Certainly, these men do not appear from out of nowhere. Just as any job applicant, should not churches check resumes, professional and personal references as well as criminal records? Perhaps charisma and oratory skills are more important than character. Maybe the churches are filled with people who have itching ears and therefore hire pastors that will tell them what they want to hear.
3 For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,
4 And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.
And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning],
Anyone that studies scripture can discern that the church is living in the last days. Scriptures teaches us that in the last days there will be a great falling away. We are witnessing church leaders compromising the word of God claiming to be more inclusive and less offensive. In other words, they have bowed to political correctness. There is nowhere in the Bible where it teaches that the church should exclude anyone. Pastors who use the word inclusive are making excuses for not preaching against sin, mainly homosexuality. The Bible calls so-called preacher who refuse to preach the whole counsel of God false prophets. Everyone is welcomed in the Christian church. However, no one should think that if he or she attends a Christian church that his or her sinful lifestyle would not be mentioned. The Christian church is where all sinners go to receive forgiveness and salvation.
1 Peter 2:12
Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers, [yet] they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God in the day of inspection [[e]when God shall look upon you wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock].
Could it be that church members are so backslidden themselves until they are incapable of discerning whether a man possesses Godly character? Christians have become sermon tasters attempting to substitute intimate time with God through prayer and reading the Bible for instant gratification from the words of man.
But the [Holy] Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach,
If drug addicts, extortionist, and child molesters lead the churches, why would sinners attend? They might as well stay home and watch an episode of the Godfather. It appears that the church is becoming a big reality show. It is not difficult to choose Godly men to lead congregations. The church is going to have to repent and get back to prayer and studying the word of God to gain wisdom and discernment. That is the only way that the church can prevent being deceived by wolves in sheep clothing.
Patricia L. Dickson
When discussing the commandment , “thou shall not kill” we must first understand that there are two different Hebrew words (ratsakh, mut) and two Greek words (phoneuo, apokteino) for “murder” and “killing.” One means “to put to death,” and the other means “to murder.” The Sixth Commandment is referring to murder. Murder involves the unjustified taking of another’s life.
I can imagine the guilt that Moses felt as God was giving him this commandment. Moses himself had murdered an Egyptian in defense of a Hebrew (his people). After committing the murder, he fled to the desert for forty years until God called on him to free the children of Israel from slavery under Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Today, it is impossible to turn on the local or national news without hearing about a murder. Murder is so common today that society has become immune to it. Many murders are committed by family members or close associates. Why would God include this commandment in the Ten Commandments? God places high value on life and He expects humankind to as well. Life is a precious gift. Only God is the creator and giver of life. Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed man from the [a]dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life, and man became a living being. What makes human life precious? God created man in His image. Man has only been given one life to live. Who has the authority to take human life? Since God is the giver of life, He commands that no one has the right to take a life.
The first recording of someone taking the life of another is in the book of Genesis, the story of Cain and Abel. Genesis 4:8 And Cain said to his brother, [b]Let us go out to the field. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. What drives man to murder? It was God’s plan that humankind would live together in harmony; however, sin entered man’s heart through the fall. Sin is the cause of murder. The sin of greed, jealously, envy, anger, pride and hatred are powerful motivators to kill another. Cain killed Abel because of jealousy. Because anger usually precedes the act of murder, Jesus Christ taught us not to become angry without a cause. God defines murder as any thought or feeling of deep-seated hatred or malice against another person. Man cannot hide his disdain towards another person from God because God looks upon the heart for the truth. Hate is the root cause of murder. John wrote in I John 3:15 Anyone who hates (abominates, detests) his brother [in Christ] is [at heart] a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding ([k]persevering) within him. Hate is such a strong emotion that God has commanded us to not even hate our enemy.
Is there a difference between murder and killing? Killing during times of war (also called defending) is not the same as murder. American Soldiers kill in order to defend country, the constitution and fellow soldiers. Murder involves premeditation (pre-planning). Cain pre-planned to kill Abel. He hated Abel because God accepted his (Abel’s) gift. Manslaughter is an unintentional form of killing. Is abortion murder? If murder is the intentional taking of the life of another, than how can abortion not be? Is abortion pre-meditated? Of course it is. Abortions are not accidental killing. However, as with all sin, God is able and willing to forgive anyone who asked. The Bible states, “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].” I John 1:9-10
Patricia L. Dickson Originally published at American Thinker
The events in Ferguson, Missouri have propelled several issues afflicting the black community to the forefront. In most inner cities, it is common to find a church on every corner, which leads me to wonder what the pastors in these communities are teaching the people. Rev. Fred D. Robinson wrote a scathing article entitled What God is screaming in Ferguson, Missouri. He made no bones about preaching Social Justice over the biblical teaching of repentance of individual sins and salvation. He feels that churches should address social justice and structural racism. He blasted a fellow white Christian and preacher for wanting prayer and calm in the wake of the riots and unrest in Ferguson instead of lamenting what he called the modern-day lynching by law enforcement of innocent black bodies.
When did churches begin to replace the Christian message of forgiveness, repentance and holy living with Social Justice? How can any pastor preach about society’s ills while ignoring such individual sins as fornication, abortion, murder, laziness and theft (just to name a few)? Is society not made up of individuals? How can society be fixed without first changing the individual? The main topic of Rev. Robinson’s article focused on his objection to a white pastor’s call for more racially diverse congregations as a solution to what the author calls a racial cauldron in Ferguson:
I get tired of that one. His unrelenting insistence reminded me — in the most stark terms — of James Baldwin’s prophetic quip: “Racial progress in America is measured by how fast I become white.”
Simply having diverse congregations without addressing the weightier matters of social justice and structural racism is not better church practice. It is possibly subterfuge.
It ignores the fact that we have to do more than call sinners to repentance, we have to call societies, systems and structures to repentance as well.
The author compared the push for more multiracial churches to a quote from Dr. John Kinney, a professor of theology at Virginia Union:
“When white supremacy adopts diversity, it seeks to either cleanse you, contain you, co-opt you or convert you.”
Nowhere in the article did Rev. Robinson, a so-called pastor, quote any Scriptures from the Bible. The Bible teaches that Christians are one race:
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own [d]purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Pastors are supposed to preach love and forgiveness, not hate and grievances. There is no place for racism and divisiveness in the church (from anyone). The church is where men and women go to learn of God’s love for them and receive His forgiveness. The Bible does not say that preachers are to call societies, systems and structures to repentance. It does teach that pastors are to call men and women to repentance. Whereas the Christian message teaches that individuals are sinful, Social Justice places blame and responsibility on society.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”
1 John 1:9
“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].”
Anyone that claims to be a pastor and refuses to preach individual sin and salvation has abandoned God’s calling. Assuming that God called him or her to begin with. Preaching victimhood is also against Biblical teachings. Christians are not victims. Pastors should preach uplifting sermons taken straight out of the Bible. An individual may walk into church a victim; however he or she should walk out a victor.
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who [g]infuses inner strength into me; I am [h]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]
“If God is for us, who [can be] against us” includes the supposedly structural racism that Rev. Robinson is so concerned about. Years ago I had an older black Christian female friend who would constantly speak about her faith in God, however; she would also lament about how racist whites were oppressing and holding back black Americans. One day I asked her if white people were more powerful than God. She was speechless. Rev. Robinson would have one to believe that God is screaming because of racism and inequality. However, the bible tells us that man’s sin is what grieves God. Our sin grieved God so much that He sent His son Jesus to die and pay the price for it.
If black pastors are preaching Social Justice in place of the Christian message taken straight from the Bible, there is no wonder the black community is in so much disarray. If the black church fails to teach against the sin of fornication, there is no wonder 70% of black babies are born to single mothers. If black churches are teaching black Americans that there is structural and institutional racism instead of telling them that God is on his or her side, there is no wonder that there is so much anger and destruction. The continual destruction of the black family is a sign that black pastors need to put down the sociology books and pick up the Bible.
Patricia L. Dickson
The bible teaches us that God ordained and designed marriage. If we listen to the politicians and advocates of gay marriage, one would think that marriage was man’s idea. If we conclude that marriage is man’s idea than he or she has a right to decided who can and cannot marry. Because society has somehow hijacked the idea of marriage, man has taken upon himself to decide whether a couple should marry as opposed to cohabitating while at the same time bringing children into the relationship.
Since God has been completely taken out of marriage, society has a low disregard for the pattern that He designed. This is evident in the alarming rate of divorces here in the United States alone (even among Christians). Just what is God’s pattern for marriage? What was God’s purpose for marriage? If we look at Genesis 2:18, we will see that God wanted Adam to have companionship: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for a man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him’.” The Bible also states that God designed marriage for procreation, which serves as a mechanism to continue the human race. Genesis 1:28 says, “And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it’.” We see that God considers the procreation of children as a blessing and a good thing. God intended for children to be born of parents that are married to each other. God felt so strongly about marriage that He said in Matthew 19:6 “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
One of the main ways that men and women can cause a marriage to separate is through the act of adultery. The seventh commandment is Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery. Adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man or woman and a partner other than the legal spouse. In 1 Cor. 7:2 it states that marriage is monogamous and is a means to keep one from desiring sexual fulfillment from others, “But because of the temptation to impurity and to avoid immorality, let each [man] have his own wife and let each [woman] have her own husband.” There is no middle ground when it comes to adultery. One is either married or he or she is not. In other words, once one is married, an individual cannot decide that he or she can engage in a sexual relationship with others and somehow erase the fact that he or she is married. Why is adultery so deadly to a marriage? I think everyone will agree that adultery betrays trust between a married couple. Once trust has been lost, it is difficult to regain. Why would God be so against adultery? Because adultery carries the risk of procreating children between two unmarried people as well as causing the breakup of an existing family.
Adultery is also a spiritual sin against God. God compares the church with that of a marriage. The church is the bride of Christ. Throughout the Old Testament, God compared his relationship with Israel to a marriage. When Israel was unfaithful to God and bowed down to idols and other false gods, He called her an adulterous nation. Marriage is a covenant between husband and wife. God has a covenant with His church.
Why would God include adultery in the Ten Commandments? God did not want the Israelites to emulate the adulterous behavior of the Egyptians from whom He had just delivered them. Adultery and all kinds of sexual sins was commonplace in Egypt as well as the places where God was going to take them through. Adultery is the complete corruption of God’s good creation of marriage and it tears apart the fabric of society. Marriages and families are the foundation of society, if torn apart and destroyed, society will eventually collapse.
Patricia L. Dickson
If I had to list the life changing events in my life, I would have to include the semester that I took my first critical thinking course. I was an adult woman that had been in the military for a number of years when I decided it was time to complete my college education, so I enrolled in evening classes after work. Before I enrolled in the critical thinking class, I thought that I was a logical thinker (I always valued being blessed with common sense). However, I soon learned that although I did have a tremendous amount of common sense, I lacked critical thinking skills. The root cause of my skewed thinking skills was because many of my beliefs at the time were based on false premises. If one begins his or her thought process with a false premise, the rest of the entire thinking process will lead to a false conclusion. I immediately began to apply the concepts that I learned in that class in every area of my life. I learned so much in that first class that I elected to enroll in an additional two classes in philosophy and critical thinking. I have since joined a professional critical thinking organization.
The problem that America is facing today is the inability of the vast majority of the citizen to think critically. A male Liberal colleague and I were discussing the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. He began the discussion by immediately stating that he thought the decision was stupid and that Hobby Lobby was wrong for denying women birth control. I informed him that before the Supreme Court hearing, Hobby Lobby was already providing sixteen forms of birth control. I also informed him that the reason Hobby Lobby’s case went to the Supreme Court was due to the requirement under Obamcare that would force a business to provide the morning after pill which is a form of abortion. He was surprised and said that he was not aware of that. How do you comment on an issue if you do not have the facts? Why was he so quick to believe that Hobby Lobby wanted to deny women birth control? It was because he believed the false premise parroted by the media that conservative Christians are bigoted sexually repressed people that want to control the lives of others. Once you accept that premise, it is easy to believe the ridiculous meme that a Christian business owner’s agenda is to prevent women from having access to birth control. Any rational person would have come to the same decision as the courts and the media knows that and that is why they made it about birth control instead of abortion. The media’s first step is to create a false premise and then appeal to the emotions of the people with mush for brains. All of this is done to distract from the disastrous policies of the current administration.
I sometimes visit the websites owned and operated by black Americans. The one thing that is common on every site is the accepted false premise that every criticism of Obama is based on racism. Every article published on the sites brushes over the issues at hand and gets right down to the root cause of the opposition…….racism. The majority of the comments on the sites reinforce the same meme. How sad that the readers cannot see past false premises and participate in an honest intelligent discussion.
Critical thinking is critical as noted by Anniel, for the survival of this republic. The media has basically abandoned its responsibility of reporting facts in exchange for distracting, propagandizing and protecting. It is imperative that individuals acquire and hone critical thinking skills in order to navigate through the lies and distortions coming from the mainstream media. I recommend Set of Twenty Two Thinker’s Guides by Dr. Richard Paul & Dr. Linda Elder for anyone that lacks or wants to improve their critical thinking skills.
Every morning after reading the Drude Report, I tell my Liberal colleagues that American is gone and it is going to be difficult to bring it back. However, they (have their heads in the sand) begin their morning reading the Huffington Post and they believe everything is just fine. They think that I am the modern day Chicken Little crying, “The sky is falling.”
Patricia L. Dickson
The Israelites were a Jewish race of people that were just experiencing freedom after 400 years of being enslaved. They were accustomed to Egyptian customs, culture and laws. God chose Israel for a nation unto Himself and His desire for Israel was that they would go and teach others about Him. Israel was to be a nation of priests, prophets, and missionaries to the world. God’s intent was for Israel to be a distinct people, a nation who pointed others towards God and His promised provision of a Redeemer, Messiah, and Savior. God’s plan for Israel is to be accomplished through the removal of Egyptian (pagan) gods and establishing and implementing His laws. This newly freed nation of people needed established laws on how to live peacefully and harmoniously amongst their neighbors and, above all, holy before God.
Thou shall not steal is a short concise commandment that leaves the reader to interpret the different definitions of the word. Stealing, in the sense of the Hebrew word ganav, refers to both the act of carrying off by stealth that which is not one’s own (i.e., theft), but also to the deceptive inner disposition that accompanies the action. Ultimately, that deceptive inner disposition is a form of self-deception. The English definition is to take (something) from someone, without permission or unlawfully, or to appropriate (ideas, etc) without acknowledgment, as in plagiarism. During the time when Moses (aka “the lawgiver”) presented God’s laws to the people of Israel, they had already relapsed into all kinds of rebellious and sinful behavior. What could these people steal from each other? For one, they could steal each other’s possessions that they received from their Egyptian slave owners as they were leaving Egypt. If an individual today takes both the Hebrew and English definition of the word steal and try to associate it with what was going on during the time of Moses and the Israelites, one might erroneously think that it was easy to keep that commandment because the people did not have many possessions.
Present day conditions presents more opportunities for one to steal with individuals owning vast amounts of possessions. The rapid explosion of technology alone puts individuals in vulnerable situations to have just about everything from their identity to one’s entire bank accounts stolen. However, some things that are stolen are not often discussed. Employees can steal their employer’s time. Artist and writers can steal another’s work (music, manuscripts & poetry).
The word steal has a deeper meaning that encompasses more than just the unlawful taking of material things. Stealing has to do with respect for others. Respect for our neighbor’s belongings. Breaking the tenth commandment “thou shall not covet” could be a catalyst for breaking the eighth commandment. In fact, the eighth commandment can easily be associated with other commandments. When one bears false witness (lie), we steal our neighbor’s reputation. When one commits adultery, we steal another’s spouse (affection). If one kills thou neighbor, he steals his or her life. When we study the Ten Commandments, one must always remember that God is to be the source of everything that the Israelites needed then as well as everything that the believer needs today. God had brought the Israelites out of Egypt and had continually provided for all of their needs. There was no need for the Israelites to steal anything from their neighbors.
What are some of the root causes for stealing? Laziness, greed, and selfishness are a few reasons individuals steal. The main root cause is unbelief. If we believe that God is truly the source of all of our needs, why would anyone need to steal from others? Why would anyone need to covet another’s possession? The answer is unbelief. The opposite of faith is unbelief. Individuals steal other’s possession because he or she is ungrateful and does not believe that God will meet his or her needs. All the commandments can easily be summed up with one sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law.” (Romans 13:9-10 RSV)
Patricia L. Dickson Originally Published in the American Thinker
Whenever the subject of politics and religion comes up, some individuals wish to believe that the two are not connected. Yet, many people are concerned with the speed of America’s moral collapse. Throughout both the bible and world history, the two have collided (wars were fought over religion). When the Kings and Judges in the bible were godly, the people and the land flourished. On the other hand, the evil kings and judges brought famine and destruction upon the people and the land (does any of this sound familiar?) Our founding fathers were men of deep religious convictions based in the Bible and their Christian faith in Jesus Christ. America’s conflict appears to center around the Christian church and the current ruling politics
The dilemma facing the Christian church today is whether to incorporate politics in its Sunday sermons or risk losing tax-exempt status. The congregants are voting citizens that should hear where the different political parties stand on issue that may conflict with the Christian faith. However, for the past five years, there has been an elephant in the room in most bible teaching church services across the United States. The elephant is the current administration and the Democratic Party’s unyielding push for abortion and gay marriage and the infringement on the church’s First Amendment rights (i.e. attempting to force the Catholic Church to provide birth control to its employees against its religious belief). Many pastors will not publically broach the subject of the different parties’ platforms from their pulpits due to fear and political correctness that has crept into the church. The church is no place for political correctness. The entire bible is not politically correct.
The Presbyterian Church appears to have completely adopted the entire Democratic Party’s platform from gay marriage, abortion to disinvestment in companies whose products Israel uses in the occupied territories. The United Methodist Church has aligned with the Democrats’ platform on the homosexual lifestyle and the Affordable Care Act but has since done an about face on the latter; however, there is a split within the denomination on the issue of gay marriage. In order for a Christian church to adopt the Democrats Party’s positions, it has to outright divorce itself from biblical teachings.
The black church has become the arm of the Democratic Party. As a teenager, I remember around election time, Democrat politicians would visit the black churches. The pastors would give these politicians free rein to stand in the pulpit and address the congregation as he or she felt necessary. The speeches were usually how the opposing politician (usually a Republican) did not have our best interest in mind. (We were never told what those interests were).The pastors would continue preaching on that same theme after the politicians left. There never seem to be any resignation or fear of losing the churches tax-exempt status. In many of today’s black churches, social justice, racism and grievance replaced the message of sin and forgiveness. The social justice message removes the individual from responsibility and blames all ones problems on society. Strangely, the topics missing from the sermons are fornication, homosexuality, coveting, envy, jealousy, ungratefulness, laziness, lying, murder, and theft (except when referring to the tithe). All such sins are plaguing the black community as well as all large segments of the rest of America.
Observing the actions of the Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist Church and the black Church, I have concluded that as long as a so-called church aligns itself with the Democratic Party’s platform, there is no threat of losing its tax-exempt status. As long as the Democrat politicians can come into your church’s pulpit and disparage the Republican Party, your pastor can sleep well knowing that there is no threat of losing the church’s tax-exempt status. However, if you are a bible teaching church that refuses to give in to political correctness, it is time to give up the tax-exempt and “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’ (Mark 12:17) and get back to preaching the whole council of God. For the first time in the nation’s history, America is witnessing a government forcing its policies on the church.
Patricia L. Dickson
Exodus 20:16 “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”.
Is how one treats his or her neighbor a litmus test that predicts ones conduct in all other areas of his or her life? Many of the sins written about in the Bible revolves around how man treats his neighbor. If that is the case, the next question might be, “who is ones neighbor?” If one takes the literal definition as one that lives next door or on his or her street, the chances of mistreating his neighbor might be a small percentage. On the other hand, if one expands the definition to include all of humankind, the chances of mistreating one’s neighbor increases substantially. Why would one find it easier not to sin against his or her next-door neighbor? People tend to like and trust their neighbors. Many neighborhoods are populated with people that share things in common (i.e. similar income, level of education, hobbies, ethnic background and culture). Familiarity and similarities makes it easier to get along with others. However, differences tend to reveal how we really think and feel about others, resulting in how we treat them. Is it not a wonder why God created such a diverse group of human species? God in His infinite wisdom knew that the real test for humankind would be getting along with one another.
The Ninth Commandment deals specifically with being a false witness against one’s neighbor. A “false witness” is a nice word for lying. Years ago (when I was a teenager), I associated the word “witness” as only when individual testifying in a court of law. However, anyone can give an account of events anywhere; the issue is whether his or her account is true or false. According to the Bible, lying is serious issue with God.
Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD, but they that deal truly are His delight.
Proverbs 14:5 A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.
Why would God speak so harshly concerning liars? The bible teaches us that truth makes one free. Truth leads to freedom. God had recently freed the Israelites from bondage. Lying is another form of bondage. An individual can be bound by his or her words not only spiritually, but also physically (i.e. jailed for lying in a court of law, perjury).
To lie is to deceive oneself as well as others. An individual that bears false witness against his or her neighbor initiates the breakdown in trust and sows discord between oneself and others. A lie can destroy relationships! There are two kinds of lies: commission and omission. The lie of commission requires an individual to outright lie about something or someone. The lie of omission requires one to intentionally omit information that could be important to an individual making a decision about something or forming an opinion about someone (i.e. whether or not to purchase a vehicle or enter into a relationship with someone). The purpose of both lies is to deceive.
Bearing a false witness against another is to lie about another. I do not know what is worse, to be lied to or about. I do know that in both situations, relationships are strained if not destroyed. An individual who is willing to go to the extreme as to lie on his or her neighbor, is a dangerous person that is capable of ruining another person’s reputation. A person’s reputation is the most valuable possession that one has. A loss of reputation can take years to recover. God could foresee the damage that could be caused by individuals lying “bearing a false witness” against his or her neighbor and therefore, made sure it was one of the Ten Commandments.
Patricia L. Dickson
Exodus 20:17 17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
God had just delivered Israel from under Egyptian bondage when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments. It is understandable that Israel would engage in the same kinds of sinful behavior as the Egyptian as well as worship the same false gods. God knew that He had to physically free the Israelites from the bondage of slavery before He gave them the Ten Commandments. He knew it was the chains of slavery that kept them physically in bondage and that sin would keep them in spiritual bondage.
The definition of “covet” is to feel immoderate desire for that which is another’s. When we are throwing around the word covet, it is easy to assume that we ourselves are immune to covetousness. If we scratch the surface of covetousness, we will find some of its root causes. The main root causes are ungratefulness, unbelief, laziness and greed. In Hebrews 13:5, God tell us to be content in what we have and that He will not forsake us. A constant desire for things is a sign that we are not thankful for what we have. Always desiring more will eventually lead us to compare ourselves to others, which can easily lead us to begin coveting the belongings of others. For the believer, God is our source for whatever we need. When we truly believe that He is our source, we will be content with what we have knowing that God will supply all of needs.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Another root cause of covetousness is laziness. If you witness what is happening in our current social and political environment, you will hear politicians and media persons say, “Everyone deserves to have the same things”. The American government is willing to bankrupt our country so that everyone can have the same things (regardless of the individual’s employment status). However, you will most likely never hear any of the same individuals say that everyone should work hard to acquire the same things. Making such absurd pronouncements encourages lazy individuals to covet the possessions of others. It may even lead to theft.
Covetousness can also lead to greed. Greed is defined as an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth. What would cause an individual to become greedy? We see examples of greedy individuals in the Bible. King David was a mighty warrior; however, his greed led him to covet the wife of one of his most loyal soldiers.
2 Samuel 11:3-4 David sent and inquired about the woman. One said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
And David sent messengers and took her. And she came in to him, and he lay with her—for she was purified from her uncleanness. Then she returned to her house.
Achan’s greed led him to steal the accursed and devoted things that God commanded Israel not to take after God had given Israel Jericho.
Joshua 7:21 When I saw among the spoils an attractive mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. Behold, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.
Christians are just as susceptible to covetousness as nonbelievers. We live in a world where Instagram and social media make it easy for our neighbors, co-workers and friends to post photos of vacations, cars and homes at any given time. When individuals are constantly seeing the possessions of others (including spouses, girlfriends and boyfriends), one can easily be tempted to fall into covetousness. Coveting becomes easier when an individual is going through a financially rough time. The believer must trust that God will provide for all of his/her needs and the needs of his/her family.