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Ten Commandments: The Significance of God's Law in Everyday Life

Ten Commandments: The Significance of God's Law in Everyday Life

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by Laura Schlessinger, Stewart Vogel

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Everybody knows the Ten Commandments, right? Let's see. There's something about stealing, lying, murdering...ah...but that's only three...what are the rest? More people claim to live by the Ten Commandments than seem to know what they are, let alone what they mean. And in this modern, jet-propelled, nuclear, genetic-engineered world, how important are


Everybody knows the Ten Commandments, right? Let's see. There's something about stealing, lying, murdering...ah...but that's only three...what are the rest? More people claim to live by the Ten Commandments than seem to know what they are, let alone what they mean. And in this modern, jet-propelled, nuclear, genetic-engineered world, how important are they?

Each day we make innumerable decisions about things that don't really seem earth-shattering in importance. So what if we break a promise? So what if we are married but find passion in another bed? So what if we are too focused on work, TV, or clubs to spend time with family? In The Ten Commandments, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, America's "Mommy" and the conscience of talk radio, reminds is that it is in everyday decisions that we give meaning to our lives or diminish it; and she shows us why adhering to the higher ideals and consistent morality found in the Commandments can create a life of greater purpose, integrity, value, and lasting joy.

The Ten Commandment's are the first direct communication between a people and God. Designed to elevate our lives above mere frantic, animal existence to the sublime levels humanity is capable of experiencing, they are the blueprint of God's expectations of us and His plan for a meaningful, just, loving, and holy life. Each of the Ten Commandments asserts a principle, and each principle is a moral focal point for real-life issues relating to God, family, sex, work, charity, property, speech, and thought. These principles, and the Commandments they are based upon, are as relevant today as they were in Biblical times.

Written in collaboration with Rabbi Steward Vogel, The Ten Commandments is a modern application of God's laws, incorporating lively discussion on the Bible and the Judeo-Christian values derived from it. Filled with passion, emotion, and provocative, profound insight. The Ten Commandments will move, enlighten, inspire, educate, and entertain you. You won't be able to look at even mundane moments in your life the same way again.

  1. I am the Lord, your God, who has taken you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery
    Acceptance of God as the ultimate author of morality and leaning of life.

  2. You shall not recognize the gods of others in My presence
    Beware of idolatry. Attaining money, power, stimulation, professional success, and accumulating possessions, while legitimate pursuits, are not the ultimate purpose of life.

  3. You shall not take the Name of the Lord, your God, in vain
    How we acknowledge or deny God and godliness through our words and deeds.

  4. Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it
    Recognize the value of time by refocusing on the most important elements of life; family, obligations to others, prayer, kindness, justice, and decency.

  5. Honor your Father and your Mother
    The obligation to parents reinforces the concepts of treating others responsibly in spite of sentiment or situation.

  6. You shall not murder
    Each human being is the essence of uniqueness, yet equally created in God's image. Not only can a life by physically taken, but demoralization and humiliation can kill our souls.

  7. You shall not commit adultery
    Sexual relations are made special and hole through a consonantal marriage. The honoring of commitments provides the family stability necessary for individual growth and health, community peace, and societal welfare.

  8. You shall not steal
    Respecting the property and reputation of others provides mutual safety, peace, and prosperity.

  9. You shall not bear false witness against your fellow
    While we should keep far from falsehood, knowing when information could or should be shared can make the differences between destroying and helping others.

  10. You shall not covet
    Desire for the possessions of others destroys relationships and leads us to violate the other Commandments.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.13(d)

Read an Excerpt

"I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage."

According to numbers published by the New York Times Magazine (December 7, 1997), 96 percent of Americans said they believed in God; the words "In God We Trust" decorate our money; and a depiction of Moses and the Ten Commandments adorns the courtroom where the Justices of the Supreme Court often pronounce the Ten Commandments unconstitutional when placed on the wall of a schoolroom. Our founding fathers in America acknowledged God as our creator and source of universal, unalienable rights and moral standards. Why do we now appear threatened by that assertion?

Judge Roy S. Moore, the Alabama jurist who is locked in a legal battle to keep a handcrafted replica of the Ten Commandments on his courtroom wall, said he is at the center of a debate about Americans' acknowledgment of God. "Are we still one nation under God? Do we still acknowledge a higher law?" he challenged. (Jewish Times, October 24-30, 1997). It would seem that we suffer from ambivalence about believing in God, acknowledging God as our ultimate authority, and publicly teaching that belief and authority to our children.

Jim Senyszyn, a self-proclaimed atheist, wrote in the Greensboro, North Carolina, Record (November 2, 1997) that "since the Bible's basic cosmological model is monarchical, any rights that do occur are by the sufferance of the monarch," and that "Religious symbols [e.g., displaying the Ten Commandments] intimidate and give false authority." An op-ed column by John Tuouy, appearing in the same newspaper, countered that "Nothing in the Commandments prescribes a Gestapo-like authority to enforce compliance.Human beings have free will whether or not to comply."

Universally, people struggle for freedom from despotic domination to determine their own destiny. Personally, adolescents struggle for freedom from parental power, so they can do what they want, when and how they want. Freedom from external control allows for self-determination, self-expression, self-fulfillment . . . oh, oh, too much "self" . . . opportunity, diversity of opinion and ideas, experimentation—clearly a chance to explore the farthest reaches of human individual possibilities. As far as it goes, that is not a bad thing. But should there be limits? How do we judge whether what we are doing is right or wrong? Is all individually desired behavior fair or good for others or society as a whole—and should that even matter? What ultimately makes life purposeful and meaningful?

For many folks, "believers" or "non," the issue of "outside and ultimate authority" is a touchy one. Many people call my program and describe a relationship with God as one in which God loves and comforts them or sometimes does them favors. When I question them further about their sense of obligation to God, there is generally an uncomfortable silence, followed by protestations that churches are manmade and so are the rules, therefore there is no obligation other than their personal preference. When I suggest that the Scriptures clarify God's will for our behaviors, they often dismiss me with arguments like: "The Bible is written by a number of different authors over a long period of time and 'after the facts' and therefore isn't necessarily literally the word of God," to "There are many ways to interpret the passages," to "That was then and this is modern times," and finally, "My situation is different." Yet, many of these same people will turn to the Scriptures in times of pain or challenge. As somebody once said, "There are no atheists in a foxhole."

As Donna, one of my listeners, wrote, "I heard something on TV last night and I thought of you. It was on a new show about a priest called Soul Man. The priest asks an acquaintance if she goes to church. She says, 'No, too many rules.' The priest replies, 'Do not steal, do not murder . . . who can take that kind of pressure?'"

While it is noble for human beings to aspire to freedom, if there is no flip side to that coin it will inevitably collapse in on itself. A Frank and Ernest syndicated cartoon strip (January 14, 1998) depicts Moses holding the tablets and asking God, "This isn't one of those 'Take responsibility for your own actions deals'—is it?" The flip side to the freedom coin is responsibility, without which you have the logic given by former Washington State Bar Association president Lowell Halverson, who had sexual affairs with several of his clients whom he was representing in divorce and child-support cases. Asked if his conduct was "inappropriate," Halverson called that a "value-laden word." "What is inappropriate for one person is not for another," he said. "I respect other people's values, but they don't have to be my values." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 13, 1997).

The oft-quoted line from Dostoevksy's The Brothers Karamazov, "Where there is no God, all is permitted," comes to mind here. There are those who think that adult sexual activity with small children is morally correct; there are those who think that eliminating the weak and ill (Hitler) or the educated (Pol Pot) or the different (Hutus, Serbs, race supremacists) or the dissenting (Stalin or Mao) is correct.

Can the human population survive if it tolerates no standard of values for what is correct? Can we tolerate the concept of absolute values without thinking our freedom has been usurped? Can we find more value, meaning, direction, and gratification from a life with absolute values than without? And whose values will they be?

If the values are not God-derived, they come from fads and favorites (these days, single motherhood by choice is idealized, but moving an owl from its nesting place to make way for construction is real bad—huh?), laziness (if you actually admit that something is "wrong" you'd have to give up your comfortable life and do something about it), selfishness (what I want is automatically defined as good), and a personal desire to get away with anything under the protection of nonjudgmentalism (it's my life!).

Meet the Author

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, a licensed marriage and family therapist, is one of the most popular talk-show hosts in radio history and the only woman to win the prestigious Marconi Award for syndicated radio. She is the author of twelve New York Times bestsellers, writes a daily blog, and is a regular Newsmax columnist. She is heard daily on Sirius/XM Channel 155 live, and her program is streamed and podcast on www.drlaura.com. Dr. Schlessinger has her own YouTube Channel (YouTube.com/drlaura). She is also the skipper and driver of a racing sailboat program that won the 2010 international race from Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas. She and her husband live in Southern California.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger received her Ph.D. in physiology from Columbia University and holds postdoctoral certification and licensing in marriage and family therapy. She is the author of two national bestsellers, 10 Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives , and How Could You Do That?: The Abdication of Character, Courage and Conscience. Dr. Laura is the host of one of the nation's most popular daily radio programs. She lives in Los Angeles, CA, with her husband and son.

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