This blog was originally posted at www.Renovare.org. “Please don’t leave your gum on the table.”
“In our house, we don’t call people fat.”
“The goat cannot come inside.”
“Use your fork, please, not your fingers.”
“Spitting from the balcony doesn’t make friends.”
In all homes there are rules; rules that make living together possible and on many days pleasant. Recently, I was reading Rob Bell and Don Golden’s book called Jesus Wants to Save the Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile. In this book they write about the Jews being rescued from Egypt and how when they finally made it out, God gave them the Ten Commandments to teach them how to be human again. As slaves they were treated like things, property to be owned and manipulated, but as free people now they would need to learn to govern themselves.
Learning to govern ourselves well is the fullness of humanity. As a side note that is particularly central, learning to govern ourselves greatly affects those around us for good or ill.
But what does governing ourselves well, look like?
Jesus tells us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’Matthew 22:37-39
Dallas Willard often said the question of how to live a good life is a question we are born asking. Children want to know how to live a good life. Like the Jews we need to learn, and continue to learn, how to live in the fullness of what God created us to be—human. The Ten Commandments do just that. They show us how to live the very best way. They are stepping stones, path markers that show us the good, true, and safe path that many have followed before us.
There are various rules in my household, but not many of these will carry over when my children leave home. For example, they may not have a goat or a balcony for that matter. But they will always be human, and the Ten Commandments will teach them the very best way to be just that.
Here are two good books for learning together the very best way to be human.
The Ten Commandments by Sophie Piper http://www.paracletepress.com/the-ten-commandments.html
This small book presents the Ten Commandments one at a time while drawing on passages from the Psalms, Proverbs, the prophets and Jesus. It’s poetic and thoughtful, filled with insight. The illustrations are lovely. I have found myself returning to this book as a reminder of God’s great love and purpose for human beings.
The Three Questions written and illustrated by Jon J. Muth
This beautiful picture book addresses the three great questions, "When is the best time to do thing?" and "Who is the most important one?" and "What is the right thing to do?" It is based on a story by Leo Tolstoy.
May you join with your children and lean deeply into who God created you to be-- human.