The Decalogue, more commonly known as the ten commandments, were given to Moses atop of Mt Sinai amid thunder and lightning. They were given to the children of Israel so that they would obey God and keep doing the right thing. Then we have these two great commandments in the New Testament – to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself because on these hang all the law and the prophets. What this means is that these two great commandments cover all the ten commandments given to Moses and they are all we need. When we love God and our neighbour as ourselves we will automatically be putting the ten commandments into practice. It is a way of carrying out God’s will from love for him and our neighbour not simply out of blind obedience to God’s commands and fear of him.
Now we know that God does not ever make demands upon us. He just gives us choices and freedom of choice and protects our freedom with the apple of his eye. So what are called commandments can be viewed as guidelines for our happiness. If we were to break one of the commandments, it does not mean that God will love us any less. It simply means that we have missed the mark and must choose again, knowing the consequences of doing wrong. That is how we learn and grow to become the people we were created to be. It is through our life experiences that we learn to make good choices and God can bring us further along the path to him. Perhaps we should not be so condemning of people who do wrong, knowing that they are still on the path to God but are experiencing what doing wrong feels like so they can make better choices next time.
I like the idea of restorative justice. It means putting right what harm you have done so that you can move on and the other person can feel satisfied that justice has been done. When we make amends for wrong we have done we are more likely to choose a better path and feel God’s forgiveness and mercy, enabling us to move on.