Mark 10:19

You know the commandments – ‘Do not kill. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not say what is false about others. Do not cheat. Honor your father and your mother.’”

our every question
arises from our undoing
of every value held dear

each disconnect forces fantasies
of doing better than we are
lest we see how far away we are

we play our gifts and fears
against one another
barely making a passing grade

don’t this and don’t that
do and do and do
can meet law’s letter

all the while knowing our discord
how hard we work at minimal response
how sporadic our persistence

yes we know
but from a distance
how little we soar

It is comforting to know that Jesus doesn’t just roll off the highly honored 10 Commandments.

Why aren’t the injunctions about putting G*D first, idolatry, the use of G*D’s name, and Sabbath listed here? Why not curry direct favor with the Layer-Down-of-Rules?

Instead we have Commandments about ordinary human relationships — Commandments 6–9 (murder, adultery, stealing, and lying), a variant on 10 (coveting realized through cheating/defrauding), and ending with 5 (parents).

Cheating or Defrauding comes from Deuteronomy’s concern with justice, equity, and charity (see Deuteronomy 24:14–15). It is also used later in 1 Corinthians 6:7–8. This is very important for religious people in today’s world of an increasing gap between the rich and the poor. The rich cannot become even more so except through tilting the coveting field in their direction or defrauding the poor. A simple look at tax codes in America will reveal the importance of this commandment that goes beyond personal virtue. Fraud reminds us to follow the money and it will eventually lead to the fatal flaw in every economic system that will get played with an appeal to a prosperity gospel equating riches now with more riches to come.

Cheating is the antithesis of welcoming and hospitality, of suffering, death, and resurrection, of detaching from power and privilege by partnering with children.

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