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From the Word: 9 For the law: you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet—and if there is any other commandment—is summarized in this statement: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore, is the fullness of the law. (Romans 13:9–10)
From the Confessions: The Small Catechism
The Tenth Commandment
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his workers, or his livestock, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not ruin our neighbors’ relationships with their husband or wife, workers, or livestock, or try to lure them away, but encourage them to remain and serve each other faithfully.
Pulling It Together
The Ninth Commandment deals with craving your neighbor’s goods, those inanimate possessions of your neighbor. The Tenth Commandment speaks about lusting after living things that are your neighbor’s, whether family or not—indeed, human or not: spouse, employees, farm animals, as well as domestic. We are not to yearn for anything that is in our neighbor’s care, but instead, take care of our own matters, and where possible, help our neighbor care for his own. This care for our neighbor demonstrates the sacrificial love that is to be the overarching ethic of all Christian relationships, just as it is the chief principle of the relationship between God and humanity.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for loving me; help me to love my neighbor. Amen.
Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.
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The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.