The Ten Commandments for Relating to Others

Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

-Psalm 119:33-35

Sunrise at Mount Sinai in Egypt

When God gave Moses the ten commandments why did He give them by way of two tablets instead one? Rabbi Daniel Lapin suggests the ten commandments were given on two tablets instead one because the two tablets relate to one other.  He suggests the ten commandments are actually five principles, each principle with two applications to make ten. The first tablet, commandments one through five relate to our creator, which includes our parents. The second tablet, commandments six through ten speak to how we are to relate to our peers.  For example, commandments one and six speak to the first principle, where commandment one applies the first principle to our creator and commandment six applies to our peers.  Interesting.

 

The first principle, Rabbi Daniel Lapin suggests is:  Others have the right to exist.

First Tablet: Second Tablet:
1. I am the Lord your God 6. Thou shalt not murder

I am not the center of the universe.  There are others who exist.  Their right to exist is real as mine.  I am the LORD your God, is where their right to exist comes from.  Rabbi Daniel Lapin teaches that the source of power of the second tablets strength lies in the truth of the first tablet.

 

The second principle: Certain relationships are sacred.

First Tablet: Second Tablet:
2. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Throughout the old testament, when God’s chosen people worshiped false idols it was referred to, by Him, as prostitution.  God wants us to have special relationships that are different from others and we are to uphold these relationships.  It is not good for man to be alone.

 

The third principle: Others, not you, have a right to their possessions.

First Tablet: Second Tablet:
3. Thou shalt not take my name in vain 8. Thou shalt not steal

Property is a good thing.  People own things that are theirs and you can not take them. God’s name is his just as your neighbors news paper is theirs.

 

The fourth principle: Others property includes their reputation.

First Tablet: Second Tablet:
4. Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy 9. Thou shalt not bear false witness

Just as we are called to uphold our peers reputation by not lying about them we are called to uphold God’s reputation as the Creator by keeping the Sabbath day holy.  It does not say ‘remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.’ It says ‘to keep it holy.’ The act of keeping the Sabbath is how we uphold God’s reputation. This is what keeps the Sabbath holy. This is a signal to the world that we belong to God and that God is the Creator.  God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh.

 

The fifth principle: Our rights have limits

First Tablet: Second Tablet:
5. Honor your father and mother 10.  Thou shalt not covet

Covet is like envy.  I do not want you to have it.  I do not want you to be better than me.  I do not want you to be above me.  Coveting is stepping out of our boundaries with our peers and not honoring our parents is stepping out of our boundaries with those placed above us by God.  Others will be above us in our life and we need to respect that, more we need to see its beauty, and flourish in their protection and love for us.

 

In summary, Rabbi Daniel Lapin teaches that the ten commandments are actually five principles with two examples each. One for how we relate to those above us and one for how we relate to those beside us:

  1. I am not the center of the universe, others exist and have a right to,
  2. among those others there is one other that has a unique and special relationship with me,
  3. all other people have a right to their property, and I am not to violate it,
  4. these other people also have reputations which are a most important form of their property not to be overlooked, and
  5. we are to accept and have joy in the place God has us.

 

 

-A takeaway from The Ten Commandments by Rabbi Daniel Lapin

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Forgiveness and Trust: Simplicity

To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back – in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.

-Frederick Buechner

 forgiveness and trust: simplicity

 

Forgiveness: to let go: to let leave: to move on. Enough. Unresolved issues take up space. In his book, Crucial Conversations, Joseph Grenny argues that if you do not talk it out you will act it out. Passive aggressiveness. Acting it out, I believe, breaks down trust. A most useful characteristic. Trust speeds up. It bears time. Freeing us from needless worry about the distant future and distant past that we may focus on now and on eternity.

Acting it out creates more negative. Negative that slows and takes up more and more. That becomes harder and harder to forgive. That eventually break relationships. I believe margin works the other way round. If you have it, the hour conversation to talk it out now can be had. Which leads to more margin. Margin begets margin.

I have come to believe that if we lack margin now we can insert forgiveness and trust to set things on the right course.

 

-A takeaway from Simplify by Bill Hybels

-A takeaway from Crucial Conversations by Joseph Grenny

-A takeaway from Mansfield’s book of Manly Men by Stephen Mansfield

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Comparison and Jealousy

When you have drunk of it you forget forever all proprietorship in your own works.  You enjoy them just as if they were someone else’s: without pride and without modesty.

C.S. Lewis

Empty Dark Abstract Concrete Room Perspective Interior

Comparison. I am better. A deception at its core. And jealousy. They do not deserve. Both empty indeed.

To compare and say we are this or that as measured against another is an ignorant quest for happiness that we have all fallen to, I am afraid. One day it produces good feelings and the next the most horrible. At its core is a lie that we actually own something. That we or they are responsible for a good. When in truth it is all God.

We are a body. Hands and feet and eyes and ears. One day the hand is called up and it feels more useful than the foot. Tomorrow when the foot is needed — the hand feels less important. When sight is needed should the eyes count themselves better than the ears?  What then if it is dark tomorrow?

The truth is humility. Every useful thing we have is given to us anyways. As is our fellows. If you have a gift of generosity, then give generously in secret and thank God. If another has a gift, the truth is joy. It is most beautiful to see another made useful by God’s goodness.

Jealousy sets in when we do not trust the measure. We think an outcome not fair.  That the judge, the boss, the coach did not have all the information and so the decision was not correct. Unfair.

We are a body. If the head calls up the hand in combat and the foot feels a kick was needed the foot becomes jealous. Jealous and distracted. Less useful in fact. The hand and the foot and the arm and the leg answer to the head.

The truth is justice. Who is just? What is truth? I believe God is. And He will sort the deserved from the empty. We are to follow Him and that is that. He is faithful to follow and we will do well to trust in His judgement.

Comparison with jealousy is an ugly distracted and paralyzed way. How much better to be thankful, enjoy, and trust.

 

-A takeaway from The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

 

 

The Law of Receptivity

It is better to give than to receive.  

-Jesus Christ

receiving

What is in it for me?  You first, then we will see.  I have come to believe that thinking of this sort is not the way of the successful.  Perhaps that is why the authors suggest it is only after we give, and give to many, and put first, and are true — that it is then time for us to consider getting.  Their fifth and last law of success:

The Law of Receptivity:

The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

An interesting idea on getting: how it allows another to give. It is more blessed to give than to receive. And receiving allows the blessed phenomenon to go round. Receiving. Being sensitive to others desires to give and letting in. Much different than taking. Much different than positioning to lay hold. “Fancy meeting you here again Bob, on your route.  Why those look scrumptious. And they smell wonderful too. It is probably because I have yet to eat this week…” Not so much.

 

-A takeaway from The Go Giver by Mann and Burg

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

 

The Law of Authenticity

The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere.

-Anne Marie Lindbergh

The Roman sculpture of Menelaus supporting the body of Patroclus

Sincerely. At the bottom of a note. “Trust me” we say. The note, not calculated, arrives bonafide. I am being authentic. I am not hiding anything. I am not playing politics. The word derived from the latin sin: without, cera: wax, comes to our sincerely. Without wax. As it were sculptors in ancient Greece who had something to hide, and were not above it, used wax to deceive. The wax used to fill in imperfections would of course eventually melt away. Sculptors then became expected to deliver to the buyer a note stating the product was indeed without wax.

What wax we use to cover and fill in what we wish were this or that in us? Always afraid of the wax melting away to reveal the truth. What an uncertain exhausting way. Complexes abound. Hindering relationships and progress. Search deep for wax and be without. Everyone has things they would prefer be filled in or unnoticed. That very desire is however what should concern. We are who we have been created to be.  Imperfectly beautiful. Live without wax and go in peace.

The Law of Authenticity:

The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself

-A takeaway from The Go Giver by Mann and Burg

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

 

The Law of Influence

And they that know your name will put their trust in you: for you, LORD, have not forsaken them that seek you.

-King David

Incoming Train
I stand at uptown station the other day giving a tour of our beautiful town of Normal, IL.  Highlighting our newly installed high speed rail we imagine the possibilities. What value could come along the rail. Anticipation exists mainly because we can not experience at the present. The town has yet to see it’s first high speed rail car.  Still the high speed rail installed lie trustworthy – waiting to accept the high speed cars. One thing before the next or first things first as it were. Trust proceeds value.

The rail a medium of exchange for value. Trust is the foundation upon which the medium is built. The more trustworthy the more value can be exchanged.

Let us pretend each of our relationships a rail. How trustworthy the rail? The more trust present, the more the other presents their needs and desires uninhibited. The more we know others desires the more opportunity to serve. The more we serve the more influence we have to improve the world we share.

Trust. Who better to trust than one who wishes you well over self? For both to gain is an admirable interest.  For them to gain at your loss and in their will presents grounds for trust indeed. Trust comes from interests. ‘Having your best interests at heart’ is a term we use. One who acts in your interest never mind theirs is one we trust. Put others first consistently over time and trust will follow. Trust with it brings opportunities to serve and influence.

The Law of Influence:

Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.

-A takeaway from The Go Giver by Mann and Burg

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.

Know your money

Promise less than you deliver.

-Rabbi Hillel

jpeg

When you write a check the proprietor will typically only accept it if they trust you have the money in the bank for the check to clear.  They will typically only accept it if they trust you. When Argentina gave notice to their creditors that they would not pay past $130 billion people no longer trusted them.  As a result people stopped accepting their currency.

Rabbi Lapin explains that the very word dollar comes from trust.  In the sixteenth century a highly trusted German count known for his high ethical standards started minting currency.  The coins were known as valley coins or thalers. Because the count maintained an extremely strict level of standards for weight and purity of silver people came to trust his currency and its reputation grew.  Thalers spread across Europe and each country pronounced it a little differently.  The Dutch called them daalders and eventually dallers.  Lapin makes a great point: “the lesson of the Thaler is still true; anyone with a reputation for reliability can create money.” Accepting a dollar is trust in a government.  Accepting a check is trust in a person.  Money is trust.  Could you create money if you needed to?

 

-A takeaway from Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin

 As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject would be the coolest.