Preserving and enhancing love centered relationships is at the heart of the Ten Commandments (and the Beatitudes) and the reason for Jesus’ display of anger in the temple. We have lost our axis to the world of “anything goes” and no longer see the Ten Commandments as practical and wise guideposts to effective living. We live on “relativism island” where only a possible suggestion to “love and do not harm” may be the only standard able to be preached. While Jesus most certainly emphasized love above anything else, it was never about warm fuzzy feelings or halfhearted humanitarian efforts. The love of which Jesus spoke establishes an intimate connection with God, neighbor, self, and creation. Because this love, who is God Himself, is at the foundational core of our lives, it demands actions and attitudes that serve to build up, increase, and free up those relationships. Love requires proper conduct.
The Ten Commandments can save the world from turmoil and conflict by instilling basic moral and relational principles within us. They also hold a healthy sense of sin in balance and always remind us of our relationship with God and the freedom God offers. Our faith preserves these jewels of truth that we often look beyond, dismiss altogether, or seek to remove from public view. Our Lenten journey, especially when embarked upon with sincerity and resolve, can restore all of our essential relationships. When we get absorbed in life’s preoccupations and demands, things can quickly get distorted and we can find ourselves way off track. In short, we find ourselves in sin. Humanity is losing a sense of both grace and sin. We need both to understand what is real and true. Until we do, the oppressive systems and ideologies that hurt so many will never change. We will never change. We are grateful for those courageous souls who willingly embrace the conversion and hard work Lent demands and stand against antiquated systems and ideologies. They give us hope that all is not lost.