Governor Sanford stood on a platform of family values, and then didn't adhere to them himself. In doing so, he has illustrated exactly why family values are so important. Not holding them hurts you and those you love and unnecessarily complicates your life.
My mother, a woman of infinite wisdom, has always said that the Ten Commandments are designed to make our lives easier. I believe she is absolutely correct. By adhering to those commandments we avoid complications, drama and hurt. When we look at it in detail it becomes so obvious that adhering to those values really does help. Commandments 3-10 are the big ones for even the non-religious, but we'll look at the first 2 as well and how they pertain. So let's take that look.
1. You shall have no other Gods before me. - For the Christians and the Jews this keeps us on the correct path, but this can apply to all. Think about what we have set up as our "Gods". How many people worship the almighty dollar and sacrifice their families and their honor in pursuit of it. The lesson is to not worship anything of this earth.
2. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. - Again here we see a stressing of not worshiping anything of this earth. Don't get distracted by idols or anything else. Stay on the right path.
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. - Think about this as all profanity. Watching what we say and how we say it can have a huge impact. I experienced that myself yesterday with ugly attacks on a discussion board. As our language has degenerated, so have our overall values. It seems that the less we monitor what we say, the less we monitor what we do.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. - This is to keep us from working 7 days a week. And if you're not working on that 7th day then what are you doing? For most people that means spending it with your family. Keeping that bond alive. How many families today spend little time together? How many are so busy every day of the week that they are losing that familial bond? If you are spending 1 full day a week with your family, with your children, you can have more of an influence and know more of what they are doing. And taking that interest in our children, in our youth, is critical to our success as a people. But how many parents have no idea what their children are up to?
5. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. - Keep that family relationship alive. This helps to avoid conflict and, if the children follow it, allows the parents to teach and influence and impart the knowledge they have gained over the years. If children actually follow this, and the parents are doing their job, then we could avoid teenage pregnancies, drug addictions, teenage alcoholism and the dropout rate from high school. The lives of our youths would be easier and we could learn from the mistakes of others instead of making them ourselves.
6. You shall not murder. - That's an obvious one. If you don't kill anybody you don't have to go through worry of being caught and then prison time when you are. It also avoids the impact to your family for your incarceration and the impact to the victim's family. Not killing anybody else definitely makes your life easier. But we can expand this to abortion as well. Having an abortion does have an impact on the woman. It can have serious physical repercussions, but most of the time it's psychological. If you do not take the life of the unborn child, you will not have to live with that guilt. It also helps us as a nation by preserving the respect for human life.
7. You shall not commit adultery. - Governor Sanford has illustrated this one. What did adultery do to him? It ruined his career, ruined his marriage, hurt his wife and hurt his children. He would be in a much better position now had he just kept it in his pants. Adultery does no good to anyone and only complicates the lives of the people committing it. Even if you don't get caught, your life is complicated with the lies resulting from it.
8. You shall not steal - Again an obvious one. This keeps you out of jail, but it also keeps you honest and a good example for your children.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. - This goes way beyond the legal term for false witness, although not perjuring yourself in a court of law is always a good idea. But this expands to gossip. Talking about people behind their backs and spreading lies about others. This hurts everybody, but especially our children. Think about how ugly our teenagers especially can be to each other. Think about the violence in our schools that result from gossip and downright harassment. Think about how you feel when you're the one being gossiped about. It may seem like fun at the time, but it will ruin your friendships, put your integrity into question and alienate you from others. It will negatively impact the quality of your life.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s." - For me this is the big one that impacts almost all of society. The majority of people do not commit adultery, do not murder and do not steal, but it seems like we all covet. Our whole economic collapse can be traced back to the American people coveting what somebody else has. Running up credit card debt in order to buy things you don't need. Buying homes we can't afford in order to have the status symbol of it. The whole idea of "keeping up with the Jones's" has it's basis in coveting. And look what that has done to us. Our lives are easier when we live within our means. When we focus on what we have and not on what we don't. This impacts so many of us in this country. If we would only follow this particular commandment we would not be in the economic situation that we are right now.
Walking through these commandments and spelling out how they actually do help us, my mother is proven right again, as she so often is. Family values are not a talking point. They are not a new idea. They are not a political ploy. Family values are guides established thousands of years ago in order to grant us a life as easy as it can be. Life is hard enough without complicating it unnecessarily. The values based on the Ten Commandments may not eliminate all hardships and complications in life, but they will eliminate many. And why complicate your life, and hurt those you love, when you really don't have to?
I am interested in what you think so please feel free to leave me comments.