“You shall not covet your neighbor´s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:17
Q: What is the tenth commandment?
A: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or anything that is his.
What does this mean?
Because we worship and love God, we shouldn’t desire to have the things that belong to other people, but instead, we should help them protect what is theirs.
Imagine going to a birthday party. It’s for your best friend, and you tried to come up with a gift that she would really love. You thought and thought about it and finally decided on something really cool.
The day of the party arrives, and you give this gift to you friend. She seems to appreciate it but very soon after opening it she say to you, “Thanks for the gift but I honestly deserved a better gift than this.”
How would that make you feel? Understandably, that would probably make you feel pretty bad and maybe a bit angry, right?
But what would be a good term for the attitude of the person who said that? The Bible calls that type of behavior pride. What it means is thinking so highly of yourself that you think you deserve more than what you have.
This is how we treat God when we covet. It’s a way of communicating that we think we deserve better than what He has given. Just like we would feel dishonored if our friend said those words to us, we dishonor God when we fixate on what others have instead of what God has graciously given.
Consider Proverbs 16:18,
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
- What happens when we are prideful?
- Are there ways you have been prideful by thinking that you deserve better than what you have?
- How do you think we can fight pride together?
Our Father, You have been so good to us. May we not think more highly of ourselves than we should. Help us to not think about ourselves at all but rather how good You are and how we can be loving toward our neighbors. Help us not to covet their things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.