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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

The Tenth Commandment

"You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female slave, ox, donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” ~ Exodus 20:17

We should so fear and love God as not to alienate our neighbors' spouses from them, entice away their servants, nor let loose their cattle, but use our endeavors that they may remain loyal to our neighbor." ~ Martin Luther

Most of us don't have servants or cattle, and I'm guessing that most of us also don't try to entice our neighbor's spouses from them.

So what does this commandment look like in 21st century America?

Both commandment 9 and 10 deal with an unhealthy relationship with wishing and daydreaming.

Wishing and daydreaming that is exploited certainly by Madison Avenue. Doesn't much of our coveting start there?

A certain car will make your life better. A kind of beauty product will make you look better.

And then that desire to look or be better gets ramped up a notch when we see that our neighbor has that car, or uses a beauty product that we can't afford.

Or maybe they take vacations to places we can't afford. Or have friends we wish we had.

Or a life we wish we had. Rather than the life we were given.

Coveting is wishing and daydreaming in ways that can damage relationships. If I wish for what you have then I am focused not on you and my relationship with you, I care only about what you have.

Coveting can also damage our relationship with ourselves. If I am focused on what I want that isn't mine, I am missing what I already have.

I am forgetting that who I am is a child of God, not the sum of the stuff I have.

A Prayer by Martin Luther: Dearest God and Lord, strengthen and uphold us in your pure, precious Word through Jesus Christ our Lord, and help us to show and live our thanks with our fruits of faith to your praise and thanks forever. Amen.

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