No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s. Exodus 20:17 (The Message)
Today ends our Bible study of the ten commandments. Number ten is probably the one that I deal with the most on a regular basis. Everywhere I look, I see something I’d like to have but don’t need or have the money to buy. To covet is “to desire wrongfully or without due regard for the rights of others.” (See www.dictionary.com) It’s more than just wanting something. It’s concentrating all your desire and energy in the pursuit of acquiring something or someone without stopping to consider how obtaining the object of your desire is going to affect the people around you or God’s kingdom. It is a blinding desire that makes you insensitive to how you treat others.
There are a lot of covetous activities that are obvious: when a spouse cheats, when people in a corporation steal from loyal customers, when an employee steals from his employer, not being honest when you file your taxes, when one person uses dishonesty to deceive another in order to gain monetarily, socially, or emotionally, and any illegal or immoral gains that we obtain by not being forthright.
When I was in high school, I had a lot of friends and a great many of those friends are still close to me today. One of my friends was the type of person who didn’t want me to have any other friend but her. She even resorted to lying about another girl I was close to in order to drive a wedge into our friendship. What I was told about this young woman was something I considered totally against her character — and it was. It was a lie that I passed along because I believed it at the time. It damaged what once had been a very strong, close friendship. Even though the truth eventually came to light and my apology was accepted, things never really were the same. In my opinion, the perpetrated lie and subsequent gossip caused irreparable harm and was covetous in nature.
Given the above definition, I’ve been thinking of other covetous acts that are given different names:
WHEN ANYONE FORCES ANYONE ELSE TO HAVE SEX AGAINST THEIR WILL
WHEN A PERSON IS ADDICTED TO DRUGS & ALCOHOL
SITUATIONS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST THE INNOCENT
KEEPING ALL OF YOUR BLESSINGS FROM GOD FOR YOURSELF
FAILING TO LOVE EVERY SINGLE PERSON WITH THE LOVE OF GOD — NO EXCEPTIONS
NOT HAVING ENOUGH TIME TO SHARE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
The reason God despised covetous behavior enough to write a commandment forbidding us to act this way is simple — when we covet, we no longer rely on God for our needs. We begin putting faith in ourselves to acquire the things we want. Sometimes those desires take over our lives. That’s when we covet. Coveting is a by-product of the immediate gratification society in which we live. It is pervasive.
The fact that the ten commandments were relevant to the Israelites thousands of years ago and remain equally as relevant to the word in 2012 speaks to the authenticity of God’s word. so, we might not always get what we want, but if we stick with God, He will give us what we truly need.
Can you think of any other covetous acts? If so, please leave a comment and explain.
Related Articles: “To Worship Idols is to Worship Yourself” http://pewtopractice.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/to-worship-idols-is-to-worship-yourself/
“120319 George Hach’s Journal – Monday” http://georgehachmyblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/120319george-hachs-journalmonday/
“Coveting Thy Neighbor’s Good” http://bustedhalo.com/blogs/coveting-thy-neighbors-good
“Why Do We All Have to Look This Way?” http://whatwecovet.blogspot.com/2011/12/why-do-we-all-have-to-look-this-way.html