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To my brothers and sisters,
BE AFRAID. God is angry and His anger is justifiable.
When a child misbehaves or engages in behavior, which endangers him/herself or others, that child is punished. Not to punish would be negligent and would encourage the wrong behavior to continue, or it would encourage even worse behavior. The child can ignore its punishment or attribute it to something other than its own actions, but in the end that only leads to more severe punishment as the behavior becomes more threatening to the welfare of the child or to those around the child.
So it is with our relationship with God. He has given us a series of commandments to govern our behavior. When we obey these commandments and strive to do God's Will we prosper in our spiritual and in our mortal lives. We earn our entrance to eternal salvation and to the unending blessings, which God provides through His Love. When we disobey those commandments God punishes us. If that disobedience is on a personal level than the punishment is applied to the individual. When that disobedience becomes societal, the punishment is applied to the society.
Again as a parent punishes a child, so God punishes His people. First is an admonition to cease the wrong behavior and a warning of punishment if the behavior persists. If this fails to correct the behavior an unpleasant experience (mild punishment) is applied to elicit a more positive response. If the behavior persists the punishments become increasingly more severe until the fear of additional punishment stops the behavior or the behavior leads to destruction.
On a personal level and on a societal level we have engaged in improper behavior, we have sinned. We can use the commandments to show how we have done this.
"I am the Lord, your God. You shall not have strange Gods before Me." Do we look to God as the source of all that happens in our lives? No, we do not. We usually ascribe events to our own actions, to the actions of others, to nature, to technology, to science or even to the stars. God, the author and sustainer of all that occurs in our universe, is never even considered to be the reason for things that happen in our lives. On a personal level we seldom ask God for anything or thank Him when He blesses us. On a societal level we act even worse. God is seldom, if ever, called upon or thanked. We ban reference to Him in our displays and in our gatherings. We prohibit the mention of His Name in our schools.
"You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain." How often we use profanity (particularly in the workplace), swear by His Name when we lie, or laugh when He is ridiculed in jokes or in movies. Our public figures, whose behavior should held to a higher level because it is often emulated, are excused when they defile His Name.
"Remember. Keep Holy the Sabbath day." Sunday is a day off for some. It is a time to sleep late, to loaf in front of the TV, or to catch up on personal or recreational activities. How seldom we worship our Creator or listen to His Holy Word. Often we are forced to work by employers, who are more interested in the almighty dollar than in the Will of the Almighty Creator. Shops remain open to indulge our spending frenzy. What is it that we buy on Sunday that could not purchased on any other day of the week? A society that once pleased its Maker by banning Sunday commercial activities now punishes those who refuse to participate.
"Honor your father and your mother." This command teaches respect for all legitimate authority because it is derived from the authority of God. Just as God and nature set the parents above their children for their survival and well-being, so also God sets just governmental bodies above the people for their survival and well-being. Not to obey legitimate authority, parents or just government bodies is an offense toward God. To seek to destroy such authority through the establishment of pseudo-families or of illegitimate governing bodies is deeply offensive to Him, who made the rules.
"You shall not kill." The Creator desires that mankind increases in numbers and that it honors Him. How can it do so if it destroys its own members? It is God who gives life. Only He has the right to determine the time of its end. That life, which He gives us, begins at conception and continues until such time as He alone determines. For others to interfere in His plan for each new human creation by ending the life of that creation at whatever point in its existence for whatever reason usurps His power and plans. This He will not long tolerate. To do so would destroy His Authority, and it would eventually destroy His creation.
"You shall not commit adultery." For the Human species to survive God established the family, one man united with one woman for the continuation of His creative act. It is only through the act of sex that we can propagate successfully. When the sex act occurs outside of the institution of marriage in which members of the opposite sex are united for life, it goes against the nature of Man. It leads to the destruction of those involved. It cripples the capacity to love. It destroys a woman's ability to properly raise her offspring. It eliminates one of the central reasons for a man's existence – to care for, provide for, educate, and protect his children. It destroys the complimentary nature built into each sex through which, when they are united, they become more than they were individually.
"You shall not steal." Our species cannot long exist when the fruits of one person's efforts are removed without his consent. As our continued existence is God's desire, then theft, the wrongful appropriation of another's property, frustrates His Will and deeply offends Him. Stealing is wrong in any form be it casual shopping, armed robbery, white collar misappropriation, excessive governmental taxation or any other of a thousand variations. Yet individually or socially we freely indulge in all of these acts. I have a need for someone else's property, and it is alright to take it as long as I don't get caught. God catches everyone.
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." Basically this means you shall not lie for any reason. Any untruth will harm others. The harm may occur immediately such as when you spread gossip or falsely accuse another of wrongdoing, or it may occur some time in the future such as when you deny a truthful accusation against yourself and the cloud of suspicion falls on another. On a societal level this harm occurs when a governmental body demands more tax money for programs that it knows do not and will not work, when it proposes solutions to problems when it knows these solutions are unlikely to work, or when it places troops in harms way, not for the national interest, but for the interest of a few powerful people.
-- by Steve Horodyski
E-mail comments to the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org