Taylor, 10, agrees with Alyssa but for a different reason. “If you did not obey your mom and dad, they would stay mad at you, and God would not like that.”
Nor would you, Taylor.
Kids talk about God
Adam, 11, has a practical reason for honoring parents: “You’ll live longer.” You probably won’t find this in medical journals, but the Bible guarantees it in Deuteronomy 5:16 and Ephesians 6:2-3. Psychiatrists’ offices are filled with adult sons and daughters who have unresolved conflicts with parents.
Laura, 7, has another idea about the greatest commandment. “You shall not lie is the most important because you can get someone else into trouble,” she says. “Your best friend could go to jail,” adds Kaitlin, 7.
How many attorneys would be looking for another job if people told the truth? Although justice in a court of law is often imperfect, the court of heaven is always in session. “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies will not escape” (Proverbs 19:5).
Not only could a person go to jail for someone else’s lies, but someone could die if falsely accused of murder, which brings up another of the Ten Commandments. Annastasia, 8, says the commandment forbidding murder is the greatest because “you will not only hurt that person’s family, you will hurt God.”
According to Scripture, we are created in God’s image. God is deeply grieved by murder because of its total disregard for the value of his image in another human being.
Robby, 10, says if murderers or terrorists rule, “there will be no happiness in the world because there would be nobody in the world. It would be a sad place.” Murder ruins the lives of children, says Kristy, 10: “A daughter or son could never know their mother or father.”
The greatest commandment, according to many of my friends, is the first: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
Nathan, 10, sees this as the foundation of the commandments “because if you don’t believe in God, why should you worry about following all the other commandments?” Laura, 9, says the first is most important “because the Lord is our God, and if he wasn’t, we wouldn’t be here.”
Both Nathan and Laura realize that all standards hinge on God’s existence and righteousness. If God doesn’t exist, who sets the standards? If there is no God, then who rewards the good and punishes the evil?
When religious leaders asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment, he said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). Furthermore, he said the second greatest commandment was like the first: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love for God cannot be divorced from love for neighbors. The apostle John summarized this link by reasoning that if God loved us first and demonstrated his love by sending his Son to die for our sins, then “we also ought to love one another” (I John 4:10-11).
Shock someone today by boldly expressing your love.
Point to ponder: God wants your love.
Scripture to remember: Matthew 22:37 previously quoted.
Question to consider: Do you love anything or anyone more than God?
©2017 Carey Kinsolving