I Want It and I Want It Now!
We have been spending quite a lot of time on the 10 Commandments that God has given us. Have a look at "Always More than Meets the Eye" and "About Moms, Friends and Pastimes". If something is given it is called a gift so we have to look at the Commandments not as rules that are hard to follow but as presents which are ours. These gifts have the special power of acting like signs pointing us in the direction of heaven every time we are not sure of what we should do. We should see these Commandments like a torch light helping us to find the way.
In "About Moms, Friends and Pastimes" we saw how these words of our Father really touch everything we do every day of our lives. That is how He wants us to understand them. He wants us to know that He cares so much that He has seen to every little part of our lives and we need never feel that we are alone with no help. Remember God's address is your heart and soul, and he wants that little home of His to be safe.
In Commandment 8 God says to us: "You shall not lie". This is a very important Commandment. First of all, we all seem to think that a small lie is not a big sin. If we lie just a little until we can puts things straight and then we tell the truth it is alright! Not so.
Lies are magical things and not in a nice way. A lie can start off quite small, what we might call a white or little lie. But then it has the bad habit of not staying small. It seems to grow by itself and all we can do is watch it in horror. It is a bit like a pet crocodile. When it is small it is funny, cute and we can handle it. We can even hide it away.
Soon enough, though, it starts to grow. It gets so big that it bumps into things and breaks them. Then it starts eating everything in sight if we do not feed it ourselves. Only when we can't manage it any more, we call in for help. It is the same with lies. They start off small but grow and then we land in big trouble over a thing that started off so small. Nasty things, lies!
One easy way to help ourselves to stop lying is to use that wonderful gift that God gave us - our imagination. When you open your mouth to say something that isn't true imagine that there is a little devil dancing on your tongue and many others cheering it on! Then clamp your mouth shut and squash that devil. It is always better to stay honest but if we do lie, it is always better to own up quickly before that lie grows big and messes up our life.
One more bad thing about a lie. It breaks the trust that others have in you and that you have in them. Has a friend of yours ever lied to you? Remember how you felt when you found out? I bet you were upset. And the next time that friend said something important to you I just bet you thought "What if he is lying?" The devil just loves us not to be able to trust each other and to always go around feeling unsure and scared. So don't lie.
The next Commandment is a funny one. God says: "You shall not covet your neighbour's wife". If you are a kid, you probably don't worry too much about it. You think I am too young for that.
Let us see how this Commandment can matter to kids. What it is telling us is that we must not interfere in a bad way with relationships that people have with each other. 'Coveting' means wanting something in a selfish way; not wanting to share. So you could covet you parents' attention, or that of your friends, or even at school in class and in sport, you may want to always be in the centre of attention and not allow others to have the attention they need.
In families, many times older brothers and sisters feel that their younger siblings get more attention than they do. They become difficult and jealous and cause a lot of trouble in the family. They forget that they too were little once and their parents probably spent just as much time with them then. If they are helpful to their parents, their parents are more likely then to find time and energy to spend with them.
You should also be happy to share your friends and not feel that any friend should only be your friend. By sharing you are likely to keep your friends, and your positive attitude means that other kids will like you and also want to be your friends. It is important that we allow everyone to enjoy and benefit from their relationships with other people, family members and with friends.
The last Commandment is also one that is important for how young people live. It says: "You shall not covet your neighbour's goods". This one is quite easy to understand because we all know what it is like to want what others have. We have just seen in Number 9 that we often want the attention that others are getting, or the praise or the extra help.
When it comes to wanting things that others have, it happens all the time and in many different ways. For example, when next you see an advertisement for a chocolate, a soft drink, a game or clothes look carefully at the whole advertisement. It is very seldom that the picture will only show the can of drink or the chocolate bar. Most often it will show a bunch of kids in great clothes doing something adventurous and fun. What that picture is saying to you is that if you want the fun and the cool clothes that the kids in the picture have, then you should buy the chocolate or drink in the ad.
I just bet that you have sometimes felt that you really wanted the game or the clothes that your friend has or that you saw in an ad. You nag your parents until they give it to you. And if they don't you might think mean things about them.
A lot of the time the message in ads is wrong and interferes with our peace. God wants us to be happy with what we have. The fastest way to throw peace out the window is to be dissatisfied with what you have. This is not to say that it is a sin to want things. But it is a sin to want everything all of the time and to destroy everyone's peace until you get it. God wants us to be at peace because He knows that only then are we truly happy. That is why He warns us against this illness called "I want and I want it now".
I hope that over the last few weeks you have started to look at the Ten Commandments as more than just a list of laws that you should know and recite to your parents or catechist. These are magical gifts from God that grow in you as you look at them carefully and try to understand what God is saying to you through them.
But God did more than just tell us what to do. He knew that we needed to be shown how to act. So He sent us His Son, Jesus, to come and be our example. Jesus lived the Commandments with great love and taught us how to imitate him in the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are really a summary of Jesus character and if we study them we will be able to imitate Jesus exactly. We will look at them next time.
Until then enjoy exploring and living the 10 Commandments.
Your friend in Jesus.
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