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The definition of a misunderstanding is: A failure to interpret the intended meaning correctly. Misunderstandings have been used to great advantage in literature and plays. Shakespeare was a master in his use of misunderstandings in his comedies and tragedies alike. Jane Austen’s, Emma, is a famous story of misinterpreted romance. Countless television shows and movies have developed themes based upon misunderstandings. Every one of us has personally experienced one or several misunderstandings. My wife and I would hold a weekly “family meeting” with our children when they were young. Each child would take their turn running the “Boos and Hurrahs!” portion of the meeting. I can remember when our youngest had her turn. She proudly brought along several pairs of boots for her “Boots and Hurrahs” turn.

Most people misunderstand why God passed down the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-21. They believe God requires us to follow these restrictive rules because He is a controlling, overbearing God who wants to rob us of fun and joy. This is a great, tragic misunderstanding. The Ten Commandments were given as an act of love. Let’s examine a few.

  1. You must not have any god before me. God is revealing his expectation that we pursue Him the most. Pursuing other activities at the elevated level of worshipping God only leads to an empty, unsatisfying life. In this commandment, God reveals, “Place me first and you will have the most fulfilling and joyful life.”

  2. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind. This isn’t a spiteful God speaking. It is God, Who is saying, “I want a deep, personal relationship with you. Don’t stray from Me. Keep me in the forefront of your life. I want your loyalty. I want to shower my blessings upon you if you keep Me first.”

  3. You must not murder; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bear false testimony against your neighbor; You must not covet. These establish objective truths. That alone is unique. They are clear standards how to live with each other. If these are not followed, the free flowing of pleasure doesn’t result, but the utter breakdown of society does. Again, God is saying. “Follow my commandments and all of society will be safer, more trusting, fairer.”

There is a country song with a lyric, “looking for love in all wrong places.” There is a misunderstanding where to find love. Many people, also, misunderstand what to find in the commandments. They provide,” looking for happiness in all the right places.” There is no misunderstanding how great God’s love is because He provided how to live the most fulfilled and joyful life. Giving us the Ten Commandments proves He wants what is best

for us.

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