9th & 10th Commandments: Unholy Desires

“You shall not Covet”

What does this mean?

“We are to fear and love God, so that we do not try to trick our neighbors to get their things for ourselves. Instead we should be of help and service to them in keeping what is theirs and urge them fulfill their responsibilities.”

-Martin Luther, Small Catechism


The 9th and 10th commandments are very similar. They both have the same first four words: You shall not covet. Last Sunday, Pastor Mike said that to covet meant to have a jealous desire of something or someone else. Jealousy is when we want something or someone so badly that it can lead to us resenting anyone else who has what we want. The desire part of coveting comes in when we want something so badly for ourselves that we will try to get it no matter the cost.

Coveting happens when we begin to feel that life is a zero sum game. That is, in order for one person to get ahead, someone else has to fall behind. When coveting shows up in our own lives it usually feels like, “my life is hurt when your life goes well.” When we covet other people’s things and lives, it begins to minimize our own blessings and maximize other people’s blessings. Social Media can create a space where we compare our blooper reel to other people’s highlight reels.

What effect can it have on us to compare the messy parts of our own lives to the best parts of other people’s lives? Continue reading

8th Commandment: Truth Telling

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

What does this mean?

“We are to fear and love God, so that we do not tell lies about our neighbors, betray or slander them, or destroy their reputations. Instead we are to come to their defense, speak well of them, and interpret everything they do in the best possible light.”

-Martin Luther, The Small Catechism


The eigth commandment is traditionally applied in the court of law. It stands for justice and fairness in the eyes of God. As with the other commandments, this seems like a basic rule, why should it have to be reiterated? As people, many things can get in the way of justice such as prejudice, wanting to fit in, or self-interest.

The eighth commandment isn’t just about the abstract idea of a court of law, or even limited to parents or teachers trying to figure out what happened in a specific situation. Times when we are tempted to break the 8th commandment rear their ugly heads throughout our everyday life. This is especially evident when it comes to name calling and rumors. To better understand what I’m talking about, I’d like to tell you a story about my own time in middle school. Continue reading

7th Commandment – Property Rights

“You shall not steal.”

What is this or what does this mean?

“We are to fear and love God, so that we neither take our neighbors’ money or property nor acquire them by using shoddy merchandise or crooked deals, but instead help them to improve and protect their property and income.”

-Martin Luther, The Small Catechism


Throughout the world and across cultural and political boundaries almost every single group of humans has some sort of rule about stealing. If this is so standard throughout the world, why would God need to go out of the way to remind us of this simple rule?

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