God’s cure for the world’s chaos starts with a few simple rules
This is a chaotic time our culture. Hardly anyone disputes that, regardless of where you land on the political spectrum. Everyone agrees our society is sick. But everyone is arguing about why and how to fix it. We can’t agree on the diagnosis or the cure. Get a hundred pundits and politicians in a room, and you’ll hear a hundred different diagnoses and a hundred different cures!
I want to submit an explanation for what is wrong and how we can take steps toward fixing it. What if our problem is that we’ve forgotten the Ten Commandments? And what if the cure was to follow them?
Before you dismiss this idea, go with me here for a minute. Just read commandments five through 10. Then, imagine a society where each of those commands is lived out and followed. Things would look very different, wouldn’t they?
You wouldn’t have to lock your doors or hide your valuables. No one would be coming to hurt you or steal from you. You could tear up all your contracts. A simple handshake would suffice, since people wouldn’t ever lie to you. If others saw that something good happened in your life, they would each be rushing to congratulate and celebrate with you. No one would covet what you have. Families would be intact and in harmony with each other, since all parents would be honored.
This sounds like a wonderful place. But it’s not just a figment of someone’s imagination. This is all God’s idea. This is the social life the Ten Commandments would commend to us. Yes, most of the commands require saying “no” to things — like idols, murder, lying, adultery and envy. They put bounds on us. But their purpose is not to oppress us! God gave them in order to bless us. They reveal God’s good design for how we should live and love. Departing from them offends God. And in the process, it also makes us profoundly unhappy.
Consider your own life for a minute. Think of the times of pain and sadness that you’ve experienced. I think you could trace back every sadness or pain you’re experiencing in your life either to your own failure or someone else’s failure to follow the Ten Commandments:
The Ten Commandments aren’t a list of lifeless rules meant to take away your freedom. If we would follow them, we would be freed up to truly live! That was God’s good intent in giving them to us. He wants us to flourish.
The truth is — God is the One who made us. That means He knows what will make us happy. When God says, “Stop it with all these false gods and idols,” He is in effect saying, “Come and enjoy me, the One who can truly make you happy!”
So many Americans today love and worship something less than God. If we worship money, sex, or power, we’ll always be disappointed. If we love ourselves more than we love God and others, we’ll never be happy. Saint Augustine said it this way: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
The diagnosis and the cure for the chaos in our culture and in our own hearts runs right through the Ten Commandments.