by HFH Reuvers


On the second table we read the commandments numbered four through ten:

"Honour your father and your mother." - This is evident, isn't it? It is also the commandment that most impressed me as a child.
"You shall not kill." - What should we understand by 'killing'? Isn't all violence and suppression included as well? Give room, attention and support to all people and animals you find on your path. As to medical ethics, see the literature section of this catechism.
"You shall not commit unchastity." - This is about the good disposition of our hearts in the first place. If we have good intentions, we don't want to give offence. So it's important to practise selfcontrol in our behaviour, whether we are alone or with one or more others. On the other hand, our bodies have needs we can't simply negate. In former times, people didn't sufficiently understand this. That's why they surrounded the body in its various functions with too many precepts and prohibitions.
"You shall not steal." - The speculators and all those managers who earn too much money should take this to heart. I learnt at school we can take a bread when we have no other possibility to survive. But otherwise we should respect the property of somebody else. So let's give back whatever we borrow.
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour." I think this means we should respect and enhance the good name of everybody we have relations with. You have to choose your words carefully to spare everybody's feelings. Gossip and slander may easily destroy anybody.
"You shall not desire unchastity." - Nowadays there's too much promotion of things we don't really need. People are selling all kinds of 'desirable' things, among which sex and alcohol and drugs. Many people are too weak to resist these temptations. But it's the tempter who commits the gravest sin.
"You shall not unjustly desire what belongs to your neighbour." - So don't let your longing eyes watch the house or the car or even the partner of somebody else.