My first experience with rules was under the care of my parents. My untrained mind felt that my parents wanted to control me and keep me unhappy. As I grew older, I learned that these rules protected me and may even have saved my life. As a parent, I’ve followed my parent’s example and raised our children with rules of love and protection. God, has also given us rules, or commandments, to protect us.
After freeing the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, God gave them the Ten Commandments. These commandments are still a vital part of God’s plan for humanity as he allows us the liberty to obey or disobey them. Like our parents, he wants us to be safe and happy.
Disobedience leads to unhappiness
Even societal laws agree with some of the commandments. As a people, the world condemns murder, stealing and lying. Murder and repetitive stealing can result in a life of incarceration. When caught, especially in repetitive lies, liars find themselves shunned and friendless.
When our family pursues anything that takes us away from God, we feel lost and empty. We become contentious with each other and unhappy. When we notice God’s absence, we remind ourselves to return back to the basics. This includes daily prayer, reading the scriptures, reminding ourselves of the commandments and obedience. We soon welcome God back into our lives and find the happiness we lost.
We need the Atonement
The first few commandments help us with our relationship with God and the rest covers our relationship with others and encourages moral values. Many of the commandments begin with, “thou shalt not,” and may seem more like control than freedom. How can we be free and happy when obedience is so difficult?
Following the Ten Commandments reminds our family of the importance of the atonement. Jesus loved us so much that he suffered and died so when we have difficulty obeying, we have a way to repent of our disobedience. Through Jesus Christ, we once again find freedom and happiness when God forgives our offenses.
The Value of the Ten Commandments
The value of the Ten Commandments is found in the examples of others and our own obedience. I have heard that we become like those we admire, so we and our children hang around others that share the same values. This perpetuates the good derived from obeying God’s commandments. Kind of like when you smile at someone you’re passing and they smile at someone, and so on.
I have also found that obedience to these commandments has made it easier to obey other commandments in the scriptures. Because God knew man would fall, he provided us with scriptures filled with examples of obedience, disobedience and the consequences of either.
Tom Perry, a religious leader said, “The strength of families is deteriorating at an alarming rate. This deterioration is causing widespread damage to society. I see direct cause and effect.” If we do our best to obey the Ten Commandments, whether it’s one family or one family member at a time, society could turn this damage around. Many examples of this are found in the scriptures. Over and over again scriptural societies turned away from God, became unhappy, repented and returned to God where they found freedom, prosperity and happiness. Let’s make obedience our goal today and watch it spread.