“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” Exodus 20:17. This is also restated in Deuteronomy 5:21. As we discussed previously, the 9th and 10th commandment are linked with a call to NOT desire for both your neighbor’s goods and his wife. The 9th commandment deals with the desire for another man’s wife and vice versa, a woman to desire another woman’s husband.
Jesus reinforces this commandment in Matthew 27:28 “But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
So, what is wrong with thoughts, they are seemingly harmless. Clearly, if you stop and think, there are harmful thoughts. Thoughts of envy, thoughts of greed, thoughts of hatred all diminish your quality of life. If you are consumed with thoughts of revenge on someone who wronged you, you will find yourself unhappy and miserable. You could be led to actually hurting the person who wronged you but more than likely, you will hurt those around you with your unpleasant disposition.
Thoughts, driven by lessons, either learned first hand or assumed, can dictate your actions. If you had a boss that once wronged you, if you let that lesson impact your next experience with your new boss, you will not likely have a good relationship, hurting your career. For example, if your old boss stole your ideas and presented them to others as his own, if you carry those lessons forward, you may be less likely to share ideas with your new boss, hurting your career by being overly secretive, protective and defensive.
Thoughts can hurt you, if they are inconsistent with God’s will. By stealing your mind away from immoral thoughts of desire, you can more freely think clearly and appropriately. If you let the desires of flesh consume you, you will never be happy because desires of the flesh and sexual pleasure is not enough to make one’s heart at ease; only the love of God can ease your heart.
For all of time, pornography has been shunned and widely rejected by society. Today, we are inundated with pornography on any media device and the evil one himself wants us to believe pornography is harmless. Why are Christians and Jews so against pornography – because they’ve read and studied the 9th Commandment and know it harms oneself. Pornography stands as an obstacle to purity of heart and lets in damaging thoughts. Today, we are free to allow unhealthy thoughts, but we are far from free, rather, we become trapped. Freedom of desire is to be sought so we can be truly free.
“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8. The 6th Beatitude challenges us to clean our heart and mind. By purifying your thoughts, you will hear God and know better His will.
Purity of heart should be desired. As you work towards adhering to the 9th Commandment, freeing your mind from thoughts of desire, you are better able to see your fellow man and woman as who they truly are, a child of God.
Purity of the heart brings freedom. You are no longer enslaved to your desires, but clearly see the dignity of the person. It is erroneous to want to be free from God, where you are immodest in thought and behavior, only to find yourself trapped in sin and far from God and His love.