“IMAGINE” — NO 9TH COMMANDMENT
So let’s “imagine” alongside the “Four Persuasive Crooners of Bygone Hippy Days”; let’s imagine as they told us to, that there is no religion,, no religious restraints on our behavior. We’ve seen the moral mess and mayhem that results from that idea in the eight previous “Imagine no… commandments.”
So now the Ninth. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” Remember — this is an internal sin, so to speak. It’s committed in one’s heart and mind, one’s imagination. And it often leads to the breaking, then, of the Sixth Commandment, “thou shalt not DO the actual adultery or fornication or perversion. . .” (a little paraphrase there).
Or, as Jesus said, “whoever looks upon a woman with lust in his heart . . .” (You know . . . has already committed adultery; there is that close a tie between internal desiring and actual doing.)
But internal or external, a sin is a sin nevertheless. And sin separates us from God. “Fine” for now I suppose, until we meet Him face to face.
So how to avoid an “internal” kind of sin like “coveting” someone’s wife!
Here is some old-fashioned kind of instruction: There are steps that are taken that develop a spirit of covetousness in a person, and knowing the steps helps a person recognize if he has taken any of these “steps.”
Coveting a woman who belongs to some other man begins with Attention. Paying attention to her, taking time to notice her, and her qualities. Looking her over. . . Imagine: a woman walks into a room, a store, a business office, whatever; and she knows she’s being . . . assessed.
The next step in coveting is Admiration. Oh, yes. Simple admiration. What a beauty! What a desirable beauty! She’s a 10! And “imagine” all the appraisals going on all over; women reduced to personal, physical characteristics, and then given a score. That ought to ruin relationships between men and women!
But the next step after admiration is Desire. From Attention, to Admiration, to Desire: I want that! (I want her.)
And next: I Deserve her! Desire tells your mind that you Deserve what you Desire.
And then comes the Necessity to have her. It has come so far that your mind is convinced that you need that man’s wife. Imagine a world in which a man’s wife is fair game for another man’s “need” to have her!
The man who is coveting is already Visualizing how he’s going to get at her; how he’s going to convince her to “come along peacefully” — and participate in his lust. Unfortunately, in this benighted century, there’s lots of help in this visualizing process. Magazines, videos, advertisements, images all over. Let coveting go this far, and you’ll have lots of help, lots of people making a profit on your weak character. And you’ll be creating a climate of “uncomfortableness” among the women around you, because . . . they know. Women often just know. Imagine a world with uncomfortable women, thinking about what the men have in their minds.
Visualizing leads to Planning how to remove obstacles. Plotting. Planning.
Pity the poor human who lives a life of wishing for someone else’s wife (or husband). A wasted, unhappy, frustrated life; nervous about getting found out, fearful of getting caught.
Imagine a world full of unrest and unfulfilled desires. Or worse, a world of fulfilled, illicit desires, and the consequences. Imagine a world without the Ninth Commandment.
I think God knew what He was doing when He commanded that we not covet a wife (or a husband) that belongs to someone else.