The Third Sensible Suggestion

The Third Commandment in Christianity is (Book of Exodus, Chapter 20, Verses 8-10):

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work.”

Initially, this seemed like a very negative sort of idea. I paraphrased it roughly as:

Old idea: On Sunday you should do nothing, except worship God so He feels better. He’s vain and self-centred.

Indeed, that was the significance of this idea to me almost my whole life. It ran together with the rest of Christianity – boring, strange, lacking.

However, that’s not the only way to understand this.

New idea: it’s a good idea to take one day a week to focus on spiritual development, because spirituality is one of the bases for excellence.

Consider the First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Understood in the first idea’s sense, the First Commandment also could be interpreted as a self-centred edict from God.

Understood along the second idea’s lines, however, the First Commandment is reflecting that spiritual development, and in particular developing a relationship with God, is really important for people, and once you do that your life becomes much better.

I.e., that they’re commandments not for God’s sake but for ours is the basic notion. I.e., God is a good God, who wants us to have love, joy, abundance, and so on.

It seems like this is a plausible interpretation of a least one dimension of the meaning of the first and third commandments (and is more in line with the idea attributed to Jesus of Nazareth that “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath”).

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