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    What the Ten Commandments tell us about man

    The second tablet of the Decalogue is our introduction to the nature and duty of man.

    Man – everyman, every man and woman – must respect and uphold every other. Life must be sacred, human relationships must be honoured, property must not be harmed, a word must be a bond, everyone’s place in the scheme of things must not be disturbed.

    Yes, these second five commandments are in the negative, “thou shalt nots”. The purpose is to make them short, sharp, clear and unambiguous.

    The negative phrasing also ensures that we take them seriously. When God says “no”, He doesn’t mean “maybe”. He doesn’t mean, “Write Me a memorandum with recommendations”. He is not making suggestions; He is giving rules. If people choose to disobey they will pay a price.

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