Children’s Message: The Opposite of the Ten Commandments

Delivered on March 3, 2024

So it’s my tradition after the prayer of the day to bring a message to all of God’s children. And I’d like to keep talking about a word we learned two weeks ago: covenant. A covenant is a list of shared promises and, in our Bible, often follow a pattern. God makes a promise, people respond with their own promises, and then God says – yeah, I’m going to keep my promise even if you don’t. So far, we’ve heard the promise God made to Noah after a giant flood and heard the promise God made to Abraham saying how he will become part of a big, holy family that we are a part of too. Those focused a little bit on the promises God makes to us and so we’re shifting a little in our first reading because God is going to invite us to think about the promises we make to God. And while these promises come from God, they really are about our way of being in the world – and we give them a special phrase: the ten commandments. 

So to think about these ten commandments – ten big rules to help the way we care about ourselves and each other – I wonder what kind of rules we would create for ourselves. Imagine, for a moment, you woke up this morning and you decided all the rules you were going to live by. The rules your parents make no longer apply. What kind of rules might you come up with? Accept answers. I wonder what it would be like to live by those rules at school or maybe if you went out to the store. I wonder if coming to church today would be part of your rules. Maybe it wouldn’t be – and it’s okay cuz sometimes coming to church is hard because you physically can’t or maybe you’re not feeling well or maybe you’re mad at someone in the church or mad at me or you’d rather go to a store or sleep in. How we live our life is complicated – and different situations or different things we’re feeling can make it complicated too. 

So those are the rules we might make and those are helpful to wonder and compare those to the promises God wants us to make. We can also, as we think about those promises, wonder what the opposite of these promises might be. I saw someone compose their own opposite ten commandments [which I slightly modified] ( and I’d like to share those before we hear the promises God wants us to make. 

1.    You are your own boss.  Do whatever you want to do whenever you feel like it. And pay attention to the people and things that only you care about. 

2.    It does not matter when or how you say God’s name.  You can use it to speak in a way that harms others or use it to claim that God is on your side so you can get what you want. 

3.    It doesn’t matter if you worship with God’s people on Sunday/regularly.  If there are other things you’d rather do, go do them.

4.    Parents don’t get it so ignore them whenever you can. 

5.    It’s okay to hurt, harm or even kill those who get in your way. The strongest are supposed to live the longest. 

6.    Don’t worry about the promises you make to each other. If you break your promises, that’s other people’s problem – not yours.

7.    Finders keepers! I see it, I want it, I get it. 

8.    Lie if you have to get out of trouble, lie to get what you want, and it’s okay to lie about other people and pretend that they are evil or bad or dumb or anything you want them to be. 

9. The one who dies with most toys wins. 

10. The world is full of wonderful things and there’s only so much that can go around. Get your share or else someone will take it from you. 

The ten commandments – and all the promises GOd invites us to make – are gifts from God that invite us to live our lives in a way that doesn’t center ourselves at the expense of everyone else. Instead, God invites us to recognize the love God has for everyone and how we, with God’s help, can be just as loving, kind, patient, and caring as God is to us.