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August 15, 2013

Peace on Earth could be possible

A friend of ours, when giving a message, will often stop and say, “So what? What does this have to do with me?”

An example of what this has to do with us is found in the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20:1-17) God gave these to Moses, who, in turn passed them along to the Israelites, and to us.

“Yes, “ you may say, “but these were given thousands of years ago.” True. But those Israelites had come out of cultures where many gods were worshipped.

“So what?” you say again.

Well, these inanimate objects could do nothing for the people. In the First Commandment, God was reminding the people that they were to worship him only. Now today, people may not worship golden calves, but we DO have our idols: power, money, fame, etc. And all these things CAN do things to us — mostly negative. Power mongers may get power by using or misusing others. Money-seekers most often find they have to have “one more dollar.”  (When is enough enough?)

Another commandment. “Thou shalt not kill.”  The recent number of mass killings has brought on strong arguments both for and against gun control. Obviously, the “no kill” commandment is broken every day. “So what?” Someone, somewhere, will be the next victim.

In the New Testament, Jesus put a whole new dimension on the commandments. When asked which is the greatest commandment, he stated, “Thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” Then he added the new dimension — “and the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

As I understand Jesus, that new dimension, if truly lived, would basically make all the other commandments unnecessary

This “new dimension” is true Christianity. If everyone would practice this unconditional “agape” love, we could have a different world. Greed, selfishness, intolerance of “infidels” would be dissolved and we might even have peace on Earth.

But a more important question than “So what?” is one that will determine how you and I live our lives.

That question is, “What have you done with Jesus?” The answer to that question will make all the difference.

Elliott DeBois is deacon at the Maryland Baptist Church in Maryland.

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