I looked up the word covet on my way to the blog this morning-I wanted to be clear on the dictionary definition. Just checking; turns out I have a good grasp on what constitutes covetousness.
Spoken and written language is a form of communication with exquisite nuances. Depending on the context, a word can be applied in such a way as to shade and enrich communications with a fullness and depth going far beyond the dry definition in common use.
The Ten Commandments are loaded like an artist's brush. To me the Ten paint a masterpiece of breathtaking simplicity while simultaneously providing a subtle depth and scope of intricacy one could spend a life time-or several-exploring.
The word covet conveys a meaning, like murder, that demands one's attention to all the details-to covet means to have an overwhelming longing for that which belongs to another. But it means more than that quick definition too easily dismissed-"Oh, but I don't covet..."
Covet: a longing that goes far beyond admiration for the material achievements of someone else; to covet the possessions of another is to move beyond admiration into justification territory. In other, plainer words, to covet something of another's is to position one's self to begin the process of taking what is another's while justifying the taking in such a way as to render it acceptable to one's self.
(Little hint-one's self is one's conscience; you know, the little voice in your heart that says, "Uh oh, heading into dangerous waters with that one. Um, let's take a break and rethink this one.")
I blogged a few days ago that it occurs to me the biggest objection to the Ten Commandments is that the Law came from God. "You're not the boss of me!" I continued the blog with what (to me) turned out to be an angry rant at those of you who operate under the "Who does He think He is? I don't need Him!" stance; amoung other things, I reminded you that you asked Him to be the boss, and I accused you of repeating history by shutting Him out of your lives after you'd got what you prayed for; that you keep it up because what little is left of your conscience tells you you are making a big mistake and so you need to double your efforts to delude your selves that the Law is 'outdated.'
No delusion like self delusion. The road to hell is paved with it.
In case you are one of those people (like me) who needs an example or two to illustrate:
"To the victor go the spoils!" You know, Caesar really believed he came up with that one first. In the words of the great philosopher Bugs Bunny-"Watta a maroon!"
"The Indians were just wasting that land!" My ex-sister-inlaw's justification for participating in a land grab. (Great Falls, Montana, early 1980's)
The Highland Acts; The Irish Famine Years; The Trail of Tears. Infamous examples of Man's covetousness, his 'inhumanity to Man.'
Adultery is an example of the result of covetousness. So is theft, lying, kidnapping, rape, and of course murder.
Someone looks over and says, "Hey, I want that!" If that someone has succeeded in beating down his or her's conscience it is such an easy hop in the sled for a fast ride down the slippery slope.
Think about it. Please! Maybe it isn't too late...