People don’t like to be told what to do. While rules and laws help avoid chaos, keep order, and try to make things fair for all, our instinct is to try to bend the rules or find a way around them. God gave us the 10 Commandments to help us have a relationship with Him. What if, instead of the “thou shalt and thou shalt not,” these commandments were written in a way that expresses how to build a relationship with Him? Perhaps they might have read:
- I want to help you in your relationship with me. My essence is in all of creation, but it’s only a small part of what I created. Don’t confuse what you see for me. Seek a relationship with me.
- Language is a gift that allows us to communicate. When you speak poorly, especially using My Name in an unholy and evil way, it’s disrespectful of me and of my creation. Choose your words carefully; mean what you say to bring praise and love to creation.
- My desire to be with you is so intense, I want you to take one day a week to spend it in my loving embrace. Rest in me.
- Male and female I created them, each with unique charisms that reflect aspects of my nature. I have chosen a man and woman united in a holy union to give you life and be an example of my love to you. Love your parents and any siblings I give you. Your well-being and the well-being of both human and Christian society depend on healthy family life.
- All creation reflects me in some way, even those who deny me. Love all without distinction from conception to natural death. Love and care for yourself, too.
- Love is a fundamental vocation that reflects my love to you and enables you to experience my joy in love. Chastity maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love I placed in you. Respect the sacred bond of marriage.
- I bless all in varying degrees based on their needs. Give thanks and be content for the blessings you are given. Respect the property of others and the integrity of creation.
- When you speak truth, you honor me and bring honor to yourself. In all you speak, let truth be revealed for my praise and glory. Respect the reputation and honor of all.
- Purity of heart and modesty protect the intimate center of the person. Living in community is a shared experience, but not everything is meant to be shared. A marriage union is sacred and blessed by me. If you are married, look within your own union for sexual fulfillment and you will find honor and blessing.
- Be content with what I have given you in blessing. When others share the blessings they have received from me, honor their choices. Abandon yourself to my providence; thirst for me with all your heart and you shall be filled.
When we look only at the actual words of the 10 Commandments, we can be quick to say that we are following them. But when we look deeper and use them to tune our relationship with God, we see there’s a lot more room for us to improve. Prayerful reflection of the Catechism (part 3, section 2) can guide us deeper. God didn’t just hand over the laws for us to follow without any assistance. Wherever we see a need for improvement, all we need to do is ask God for the help of His Grace.