Friday, June 18, 1999

Idolatry: The Forgotten Commandment

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6)

Most of my life, until age 24, I never knew this commandment even existed. Sad thing is I attended church every week and attended religious school for years (even taught it for a year to 5th grade students). I knew all about serving only one God, not taking the Lord's name in vain, honoring the Sabbath, honoring my parents, not murdering, not stealing, not committing adultery, not bearing false witness against my neighbor, not coveting my neighbor's wife, and not coveting my neighbor's goods. But this commandment was never taught to me, and it made me wonder. How could this commandment about idolatry have completely escaped me? Were there any other inconsistencies between my beliefs and the bible?

For months I compared bible passages to the official doctrine of the church I was attending. To my dismay, I found numerous differences between the two, and it greatly concerned me. After praying about it, I knew I had to make a change in churches - no matter how difficult it might be for my family and I. The day I told my family I was switching to a non-denominational church was one of the worst days of my life. But it was a choice I will never regret. It has taken a number of years for my family to begin to accept it, but I pray that one day they will fully understand.