As as person who travels across the country several times a year, it is very common place to see signs posted along road sides, in the private fields of land owners, that remind the traveler of the commands of God, the 10 commandments. The owner is making a very bold and specific claim about their beliefs through this very public display. They are acknowledging the commandments as their set of behavioral expectations by which they choose to live, and through this public display are attempting to reorient the passerby-er to a set of core values they believe to be essential to their faith.
I have always wondered about this. This bold act of telling the world, not just what they, the land owners believe, but also telling the traveler what they should believe. It wasn’t until just recently however that my attention was caught with a new moment in which to see this display, and I wondered,
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is “Love the Lord with all your heart and with all you mind… And the second, Love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40) And “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” (John 13:34)
In a society that prizes itself on efficiency, and is always accused of taking the shortest path, in a culture that is always trying to find a way to get the biggest bang for the buck, why is it that we still write the entirety of the 10 commandments, which focus on the “what we should not to do” in life, instead of lifting up the 2 commandments which focus us on the “what shall we do” in life?
Wouldn’t it be much easier to post a big sign in your yard that says, Love God – Love your neighbor. This is my kind of reorientation. Setting my compass to Love.
Think about it?