The Ten Freedoms
Ray Butterworth, 2018.

People have traditionally regarded the Ten Commandments as ten restrictions on what they are allowed to do.

But it is possible to look at them from a different perspective: as ten freedoms that will naturally result from following God's way of life. God isn't saying "Don't do this!", he's saying "A natural consequence of following me is that you won't do this.".

Having God's spirit as a guide makes life's choices easy. For anything significant, fear of doing the wrong thing won't be a factor.

And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

  1. Paganism:

    Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

    The world has many gods, in many forms, with many powers. But if you follow the Lord, the only god you need to know, you shall be free of the influence of all other spiritual powers, real or imaginary. You'll be free of fear of all other gods and supernatural beings.

  2. Idolatry:

    Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, ... .

    People attribute magical and spiritual powers to physical objects and ritual behaviour. Following God's way means that if you accept God as the direct source of all power, you shall be freed from any other magical powers, real or imaginary. You'll be free of fear of, and have no need for, any supernatural objects or rituals.

  3. Blasphemy:

    Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain ... .

    Following God's way means that you will be sincere whenever you call on him, knowing that God will listen to you. You'll be free of fear that your requests to God will be in vain.

  4. Disrespect:

    Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work ... wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

    Following God's way means that he grants you one day a week, reserved for your physical rest and spiritual needs. On the sabbath, you'll be freed from mundane labour.

  5. Dishonour:

    Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

    Following God's way means letting your life be an example for others, creating honour and respect for your family name. You'll be free of any fear that your behaviour will bring dishonour to your parents and family.

  6. Murder:

    Thou shalt not kill.

    Following God's way means tolerating other people's faults and behaviours, knowing that it is for God, not you, to judge them. You will never hate anyone, much less want to hurt or kill them. You'll be free of mental poisons such as hatred and vengeance.

  7. Adultery:

    Thou shalt not commit adultery.

    Following God's way means experiencing a loving and faithful relationship with your family. You'll be free of temptation to be unfaithful.

  8. Theft:

    Thou shalt not steal.

    Following God's way means having what you want, and wanting what you have. You'll be free of desire for what is not rightfully yours.

  9. Perjury:

    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

    Following God's way means respecting other people, never having any motive to hurt them. You'll be free of any desire to use your words to hurt someone else.

  10. Extortion:

    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

    Following God's way means accepting what you have and not desiring what others have, even if they appear not to deserve it. You'll be free of resentment of other people for what they have.