'Thou shalt not covet' - a promise of good for all

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

When I see the word covet, I immediately think of "Thou shalt not covet" from the Ten Commandments. I remember thinking as a child that I shouldn't covet because I didn't deserve the good things that others had. They were better than I was, I thought, because God favored them more than He did me.

When I was in my 30s and going through a rough time, some friends gave me a book that changed how I think of myself. Not only that, it changed how I think of God. The book is "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. The book helped me understand God as Love itself, and what it means to be a child of divine Love.

This statement from the book particularly struck me: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need. It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good" (page 494).

Ideas such as this one helped me enormously. I saw the Ten Commandments as more of an affirmation of our satisfied nature than as a threat of punishment for disobedience.

I felt that God was saying: "You won't do these bad things because I never gave you a reason to do them. As My children, you are complete. You are destined and designed to prove that wholeness defines your eternal selfhood."

With that in mind, I saw the commandment on coveting in a whole new light. It reads: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's" (Ex. 20:17).

This is a promise that I will not yearn for anything that anyone else has because God disperses blessings equally among His children, and that includes me.

This commandment invites me to trust God's plan to include whatever I need to make me feel safe, happy, and loved. I can trust God to provide for me in ways that keep me satisfied.

In Science and Health, the word Mind is another name for God, as He is the source of all intelligence. Since God is Mind, I can depend on Him to know, better than anyone, what is best for each individual. I don't have to worry about what form of expression God's love takes for my neighbor or me, because He loves us all with the same glorious wisdom and discretion and with the same measure of love.

I once had a friend who appeared to have everything that I did not. She was married to a wonderful man who made a good living. They had two adorable young daughters and many material comforts. I was newly divorced and struggling to survive with my family on food stamps and public assistance.

Sadly, my friend was never satisfied. Despite all that she had on the surface, she felt poor; she was always measuring what she owned against those who had more.

Meanwhile my study of Science and Health, along with an increasing study of the Bible, was teaching me to appreciate all that helped my family survive. I was learning that all good shows God's active love for His children. This merciful, ever-present law of divine Love is equally and unconditionally available for all to draw on, throughout eternity.

Eventually, many more blessings came our way. I learned to measure my wealth not by what someone else owned but by what I was learning about God's certain and tangible love, evidenced in every grain of good in my life.

The more I learned about God's unlimited love for His creation, the more I understood how His perfect love could never leave anyone outside His benevolence and care. So for me, the Tenth Commandment is no longer about envy but about equality.

Because of this new view of the old law, chronic feelings of deprivation and low self-worth have faded away. I am more profoundly and consistently content with what I now appreciate as God's impartial and specific endowment of good for me and for everyone.

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