6/3/15 Homer late 20's
Which of the Ten Commandments is the least important? I honestly don’t think that is for us to judge, but I have to confess that the command against covetousness does seem less important than, say, the command against murder. Are our bad thoughts on the same level with bad actions? A witnessing conversation with a young father named Homer has brought these questions to mind. I reached out to Homer while he was at a park with his young son. Homer seems to have a strong belief in God and the biblical reality of judgment day and he even verbally acknowledged our need for faith in Jesus. He respected the fact that as a Christian I was reaching out to him with the message of the Gospel. But several times before we could talk about the practical implications of what faith in Jesus looks like, he would digress into the injustice between the “haves” and the “have not’s”. Homer grew up in a hard neighborhood of Chicago, and still struggles to make ends meet, bussing tables in a restaurant. He definitely has had to struggle harder than I have from my middle-class background, and he used this fact to justify cutting ethical corners just to “get by”, and ignoring God in the process. I tried to encourage him to count his blessings, to take the focus off of what he doesn’t have and to focus on the fact that he has a family, a car, a home, running water, a job and a nice park to bring his son to. But the fact that I as a teacher from a middle class background and being from the dominant culture have not had to struggle like him disqualified me, in his thinking, from challenging him with biblical truths. He was also mad at God, feeling like God owes him the things he doesn’t have and wondering how God could be so unfair. Covetousness is keeping him from a right relationship with God, and it is causing him to teach this negativity to his young son. If it continues, it will not only cut Homer off from God for eternity, but will affect generations to come. Is covetousness serious? For Homer and his family, I have to believe it’s as serious as life and death.