I read a story this week about a man who truly wished to live a holy life. He spoke to his rabbi and was honestly able to say that he had not broken any of the 10 commandments.
‘I see’ said the rabbi, ‘So you haven’t broken any of the commandments?’
‘That’s right,’ the man replied with pride.
‘But have you kept the commandments?’ The rabbi asked.
‘What do you mean?’ said the man.
‘I mean have you honoured Gods holy name? Have you kept holy the Sabbath day? Have you loved and honoured your parents? Have you sought to defend and preserve life? When last did you tell your wife that you love her? Have you shared your goods with the poor? Have you defended the good name of anyone? When last did you put yourself out to help a neighbour?’
The man was taken aback, but on reflection he realized that until now he had been merely intent on avoiding wrongdoing. Surprisingly many people think that this is the highest measure of virtue. The Rabbi offers a new vision of goodness – a new and more challenging path to follow – not merely avoiding evil but actually doing good!
We, ourselves, must be careful not to make the same mistake as this man. We must not approach the commandments in a negative way because this leads to doing the bare minimum. We must approach them in a positive way. And we we must keep them in the right spirit. Our obedience should be motivated by love, not fear. We don’t keep the commandments so that God will love us but because God already loves us!
Jesus clarified the law by underlying every word and sentence of the law, with love. In truth the law of love is THE LAW!