Monday, March 9, 2015

thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's ...

the oxford dictionary defines covet as "yearn to possess or have (something)."

synonyms for covet include desire, yearn for, crave, have one's heart set on, want, wish for, long for, hanker after / for, hunger after /  for, thirst for

to covet something, means you really, really want it.  usually, in the biblical sense, coveting something that belongs to your neighbor is a sin.

the other nine commandments are outwardly manifested.  in other words, one can easily determine if a person is keeping a commandment or not by observation.  however, the tenth commandment is a commandment which cannot be easily observed.  coveting a neighbor's possessions is a sin of the heart.

coveting what others have is the root of our consumer-driven society today.  virtually all marketing today is an appeal to have more; to have what others already have and are enjoying.  simply put, marketing sells coveting.

one christian pastor opined, "covetousness is something which our culture seems to value, and which the church has become accustomed to, even catering to it instead of condemning it.  i honestly believe that if coveting were to immediately cease in america, our economy would be in shambles" (link)

i'm not so sure america's economy would crumble if everyone began obeying the tenth commandment, but i do agree with the sentiment.  coveting is a the big religion in america, in which even churches participate, with some churches going so far as to fund billion dollar shopping malls (link).

so, what is the antidote for coveting our neighbor's possessions?  in a word, contentment.

and to be content, we need to be grateful for what we already have.  having a grateful heart and letting love into our heart will breed contentment.

watch less television and advertising (read this becomingminimalist blog post).

another way to counter coveting is to focus on what really matters in life.  focus on relationships and spending time with others.  serving a loving others is always a good answer to many problems.

seeking knowledge and wisdom instead of things or more stuff is also a good way to prevent coveting from corrupting our heart.  read a book, learn a new language, learn a new skill - all good antidotes.

the bottom line is we need to get at the root of our problems.  and one of those roots where we need to apply our ax is covetousness.

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