TCs Apply (8): Covet-less
‘You shall not covet.’ Exodus 20:17 NIV
Time for some Bible. Open up to Exodus 20:17, the final commandment: coveting.
On its own, the word for ‘covet’ (chamad) here just means desire, and isn’t a bad thing. What makes the coveting an evil thing is the fact that it’s someone else’s thing. Translation: it doesn’t belong to you, and you want it anyway.
So why is it bad to see your friend with the newest PhonePadPhunlookingthing and fall over yourself to get one too? Well, it’s not particularly honouring to them. It’s a missed opportunity to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice’ (Romans 12:15 NIV), and it’s really quite self-centred.
And in the ‘you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife’ (Exodus 20:17 NIV) part of the verse, dishonouring becomes dehumanising. Sometimes we treat people as bodies to lust after or wish we had instead of our own. Or how about that one person who seems to have it all perfect? And you just wish you could be them? – same: not good for anyone.
Coveting people or their things (and yes, if it is a shop’s thing, it is still coveting…) becomes a worship-full experience and then we’re, well, ‘worship-empty’ when we go before God. We have no space left for Him, because we tried to feed this hunger within ourselves with the wrong stuff or people. If we get what we wanted so desperately, we still wouldn’t be satisfied. We’d want more. That desire to be filled is a Jesus-shaped space only He can actually, truly fill.
The next (affordable - chocolate, a CD, lipstick, whatever) thing that you find yourself ‘chamad’-ing in a shop… buy it. Then give it away to someone who you know’d like it.