Pope Francis once remarked: “We must not see the Ten Commandments as limitations to liberty. No, they are not this, but we must see them as indications for liberty. They are not limitations but indications for liberty! They teach us to avoid the slavery to which the many idols reduce us that we build ourselves - we have experienced this so many times in history and we are experiencing it also today...” Matthew 5:17-20 states: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
We probably are all aware that the Ten Commandments were originally delineated to the Prophet Moses on Mount Sinai as part of the second Covenant between God and His chosen people. They depict and set out specific rules and laws, primarily intended as moral guidance for righteous living, that not only encompass the correct relationship with God, but also our relationship with others. It is believed that they were originally given to Moses orally and subsequently set into two tablets of stone for posterity. The Ark of the Covenant, reputed to be a gold-covered wooden chest, was then utilized for storage and protection.
Morality is fundamentally defined as the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. Romans 13:1-5 states: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. ...”
We may think we know who we are, we may think we know everything about ourselves, but, in reality, we don't, we actually know very little. Life and our comprehension of it can be extremely deceptive in that we have much to learn about our individual coping strategies, perceptions, and the general make-up of our body. Every person in life is different from the next. We don't know precisely why this is so, or why we think in any given way. There has been much hypothesis and conjecture with a host of possibilities and conclusions that we can consider and surmise, dependent on our lifestyle, but are they the definitive consensus that explains all, or merely fallacy? There are many reasons why we respond to situations in dissimilar ways. Some will stem from previous incidents in our childhood or teenage years. If we have been overprotected, then we may often expect similar in adulthood, because we don't know any different. However, if we have had to learn self-control in the early years, then we will probably be much more resilient and able to cope more readily as each situation arises.
The reactions of others to events that happen in our lives often have a marked effect on the way we respond to incidents. If someone shows concern for what has happened to us, then we, in response, react accordingly and may seek sympathy. Why does a child feel the need to cry when he or she falls over, even if they are not hurt? The result depends largely on the response and reaction of the person who views the incident. If it is ignored and things progress as if nothing has happened, then the chances are that the event will be brushed aside by the victim as insignificant and life continues as normal.
If we delve further into the matter at hand, we could ask the questions: Why are some people good and others bad? What gives us the impulse to do wrong? What makes us decide on a particular course of action in our life? Why are some situations considered acceptable and well within our comfort zone? Whereas, others make us feel extremely uncomfortable and all we want to do is withdraw as rapidly as possible? Reactions to situations vary from person to person. In fact, individual autonomy that retains one’s own identity, but coheres to the symmetrical traits of goodness in human nature could be considered as the only solution to a satisfactory life.
Human nature has been deemed by some to be perverse and sinful and needs to be transformed into virtue by careful nurturing, guidance, and above all, love. The love of God cannot be defined as individualistic, it is omnipresent, it is special, it is divine. One can't expound it as a single entity because it is true love and true love exists everywhere, in our minds, in our bodies, and our hearts. The Bible teaches us about the true love of God, it gives explanations and reasons for many specific biblical incidents, but above all, it shows us the way to our eternal salvation. If we heed its message and the commandments that God has given us, then we will not veer too far from the path of righteousness.
Oxytocin has been described as an ancient molecule in the human brain that can, amongst other things, help us to feel good within ourselves. It has been identified as a hormone that acts on organs in the body and can significantly affect our overall mood. If we feel good about ourselves, we tend to feel good about others. This can effectively be passed on through our general demeanor. Alternatively, if we are in the company of those who are emitting the full benefits of this molecule, then our thoughts and reactions may well lead us to a more pragmatic approach toward life. When the hand of friendship is offered, then we, in turn, should react accordingly. If we acknowledge and respond to this positivity from others, it may ultimately lead us to a life of good morals which quintessentially relates to the essence of the Ten Commandments. These are considered by many to be the foundation stone or even the actual definition of morality. Romans 13:8-10 confirms: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”