As I am thinking about whether children need to learn the 10 Commandments another school shooting has taken place in Texas. It seems like we've stopped teaching children what is right and wrong. Most children who attend church on a regular basis cannot name The 10 Commandments. If you can't name them, then how are you going to try to follow them.
Yes, I know school shootings are much more complicated than teaching kids the 10 Commandments and I'm not trying to tie the two together.
So do children need to learn the Ten Commandments anymore?
It is easy to downplay the importance of the Ten Commandments mainly because of the new commandment that Jesus gives us in John 13:34: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” But does this mean Jesus cancels out the Ten Commandments given to Moses?
I believe this line of thinking is false. Jesus never said he came to eliminate the old Testiment, but to fulfill it.
I believe God doesn’t contradict himself; Jesus’ new commandment could not have canceled the Ten Commandments. On the contrary, if we take a careful look at all of the commandments, it is easy to see that they boil down to one thing: love. They teach us how to love God and love one another. Have you ever noticed that?
The New Testament doesn’t contradict the Ten Commandments at all. The New Testament strengthens them and continues to teach love all throughout. The Holy Spirit upholds the value of love because one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22). So I’ll throw you the question again: why is there a need to teach children the Ten Commandments?
As adults, love may be relatively easier to understand because we have more experiences with it. But children don’t have much experience with love. We are not born knowing how to love. In fact, the first part of Proverbs 22:15 says that “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child.” Because of this, teaching them the abstract and admittedly difficult concept of love is better done through specific and understandable commands. And what better set of commands can we use than the Ten Commandments?
For example, even adults have trouble understanding God’s concept of love. Our previous post tells us that many of us don’t know if God really loves us or not. Similarly, it can be hard to understand how to love God fully. But the first four commandments specifically address this and teach us what to do. Here’s the First Commandment:
I am the LORD your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20: 2-3)
Instead of teaching children what can be a vague concept of love, we can teach them to love God by worshipping nobody and nothing else but him and not idolize people and things. The same can be said with the other commandments. For example, the Ninth Commandment tells us that to love other people, we shouldn’t lie and say false things about them. Again, it is much easier for children to follow specific guidelines to learn how to love.
Memory Cross has created a few cards to help children memorize The Ten Commandments. We'd love to send you a free sample. Just ask for The Ten Commandments when ordering our free sample pack.