While some people see the 10 Commandments simply as a set of rules, when you include verses 1 and 2, you realize that they are not simply a set of prohibitions, but rather are guidelines meant to help us build whole, healthy relationship with God, with one another and with the world. The first three commandments focus on our relationship with God and the next seven focus on our relationship with one another. As a society, we develop specific rules to govern daily life, but taken together these 10 define the boundaries within which a whole, healthy life is possible.
Language is powerful. The words we use matter. The Second Commandment reminds us of the importance of treating God and God’s name with respect. When you talk about God, use words that reflect what you believe about God. When you talk to God, use words that reflect who you are and the way that you like people to speak to you.
You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments
Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
While most of us would never walk out of store with an iPhone without paying for it, many people will download a song or movie from a sharing site without paying, cut and paste a quotation without citing it or fail to correct the clerk who gives them too much change. The Seventh Commandment doesn’t draw a distinction between little thefts and big thefts, but simply encourages us to respect our neighbors property and to help them keep what they have.
According to Martin Luther in the Small Catechism, this Commandment means that “we are to fear and love God, so that we do not try to trick our neighbors out of their inheritance or property or try to get it for ourselves by claiming to have a legal right to it and the like, but instead be of help and service to them in keeping what is theirs.”