Saint Brigid Religious Education
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West Hartford, CT 06110

The Ten Commandments

God sent Moses up the mountain so that he could receive the Ten Commandments. Up to then, there were no laws that the people had to follow, so God felt the need to provide rules on how His people were to love Him and to treat others.

In everyday life, God, through the Bible, tells us how to behave. We should never take God's commandments lightly, so it is important to know what they are. God gave us the Ten Commandments to help us understand how we should act towards Him and one another. They’re ancient, but not outdated. Literally written in stone, the Ten Commandments hold our instructions for how to be God’s children, even in these changing times.

Love is the basis of the Ten Commandments in both the Old and New Testaments.

The first four commandments describe our duties to God. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. (Deuteronomy 30:6; Luke 10:27)

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)

The last six describe our duties to each other.
Love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19: 18,34. Matthew 22:37,39)

  1. You shall have no other Gods before me.
    The Creator of the universe declares He is our God and our deliverer and asks us to demonstrate our love for Him by having no other God's. The First Commandment is the first of a series of four that define our relationship with our Heavenly Father. He alone is God. We should allow nothing to prevent us from serving and obeying Him.

  2. You shall not worship any one else but me.
    The one and only true God loves us so much that He is jealous of our love and does not want to share our love by seeing us bow down to meaningless idols. The Second Commandment goes to the heart of our relationship with our Creator.

  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
    God asks us to respect His Holy name and not to use it in vain. The Third Commandment focuses on showing respect. It addresses the way we communicate our feelings about God to others and to Him. It encompasses our attitudes, speech and behavior. Respect is the cornerstone of good relationships. The quality of our relationship with God depends on the love and regard we have for Him.

  4. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day.
    God starts off the fourth Commandment with the word “Remember”. This is because He knew we would forget it. God asks that we keep it set apart for Holy purposes so we can draw nearer to Him. When we go to mass every Sunday and spend time at home with our families, we’re keeping this commandment. The Fourth Commandment to remember the Sabbath concludes the section of the Ten Commandments that specifically helps define a proper relationship with God, how we are to love, worship and relate to Him.

  5. Honor your father and mother.
    God instructs us to show love for our parents by honoring them. The Fifth Commandment introduces us to a series of Commandments that define proper relationships with other people. The fifth through to the 10th serve as the standards of conduct in areas of human behavior that generate the most far reaching consequences on individuals, families, groups and society.

  6. You shall not kill.
    God asks us to demonstrate love and not hate towards others by not murdering. We must learn to control our tempers. Taking another person's life is not our right to decide. That judgment is reserved for God alone. God does not allow us to choose to willfully or deliberately to take another person's life. The Sixth Commandment reminds us that God is the giver of life and He alone has the authority to take it or to grant permission to take it.

  7. You shall not commit adultery.
    God asks us to express and demonstrate our love for our partner by being faithful. When a person is willfully unfaithful in marriage, he or she breaks the vows and Commandment.

  8. You shall not steal.
    God instructs us to show our love and respect for others by not stealing what belongs to them. The Eighth Commandment safeguards everyone's right to legitimately acquire and own property. God wants that right honored and protected.

  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    God says if we love others we should not deceive or lie to them. How important is truth? The Bible says that Jesus is “the way and the Truth” John 14:6.

  10. You shall not covet your neighbors wife.
    God instructs us not to covet because He knows it can entrap us into even greater sin. To covet means to crave or desire, especially in excessive or improper ways. The Tenth Commandment does not tell us that all of our desires are immoral. It tells us that some desires are wrong. Coveting is an immoral longing for something that is not rightfully ours. That is usually because the object of our desire already belongs to someone else.

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