Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Turn the Tide: An Elaboration on the Fifth Commandment

Fifth Commandment Oh, there are so many ways to violate the Fifth Commandment! Did you know that? Besides murder, we can violate this commandment as follows, via showing a disrespect for others in the form of

…anger, hatred, abusive language, resentment, omissions in service, racism, and failures to treat enemy oppressors with love. Revenge or vindictiveness also has no place in the heart of a Christian.” 1

After reading this list, are you like me? Are you having a “whoa” moment, thinking about all the times when you got unjustly angry because of greed or pride? Are you saying “ouch” when you realize that you think you’re better than others, only to learn that you are not (hatred and racism)? How about when you resented someone for getting something you wanted, and envy reared its ugly head?

More Ways to Violate the Fifth Commandment!

It gets even worse! We can violate the Fifth Commandment by showing a disrespect for ourselves, when we commit “suicide, cult of the body, gluttony and substance abuse.” 2

Suicide, gluttony and substance abuse are rather well known sins, but cult of the body, that one is rather obscure. So, let me elaborate. Cult of the body refers to any mutilation of the body. For example, excessive body piercing, tattooing, and unnecessary plastic surgery, are all sins against the Fifth Commandment. One might ask why. The answer lies in being unsatisfied with the way God made you to be. It is an affront to Him, who loves you as He made you, to mar your body to appear as something other than what He made.

Turn the Tide: Adhering to the Fifth Commandment – The Key: Respect

So, how do we turn the tide on these affronts against God, and willingly adhere to the Fifth Commandment? It all starts with respect. We need to respect God’s creation of ourselves and love ourselves as He loves us. Then that respect needs to extend outward toward others. When Jesus told us to “love the Lord Your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind, [as well as] love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:37-39), He didn’t just give us feel good words. These instructions are meant for our benefit, as well as for our fellow man’s benefit. If we are willing to respect ourselves and others, then positive relationships will ensue. We will no longer be slaves to the sins of hatred, racism, abuse, etc. We will be a society of good people.

Are you ready to turn the tide, and work with me, to adhere to all of the aspects of the Fifth Commandment?


1 Armenio, Peter V. Our Moral Life in Christ: College Ed. Woodridge: Midwest Theological Forum. Print. 2009 p. 401

2 Ibid., p. 399

This post also appears on Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, and Top Catholic Blogs

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6 Responses to Turn the Tide: An Elaboration on the Fifth Commandment

  • Great post! And very helpful for a thorough examination of conscience.

  • It appears we all have a lot to learn. I don’t like the tattoos or piercings either. But I am glad God’s judges and looks at the heart. Jesus was the only one who could full fill all the commandments and His grace is there for us, we need to not abuse such a gift, I’m copying your list.

  • I’ve spent my whole adult life trying to learn how to ‘love myself’ (according to Scripture), but have failed, miserably! This blog has helped me to see just how miserably I’ve failed at this. I guess it didn’t help that I never felt loved by my parents; and the ONLY person that ever truly loved me, suddenly died — only 3 weeks before our scheduled wedding.

    Years later, I was in a Bible Study, and one night the Scripture that was read was: ” … love others better than yourselves” — at which I loudly exclaimed, “NO! God wants me to love myself!”. Everybody there was horrified at my outburst and tried to show me where I was ‘wrong’. Needless to say, I did not stay with that group or that Protestant church after that. Thank God, He called me to return to the Catholic Church that I’d left 32 years before! But, I’m STILL trying to learn to ‘love myself’ (yet I still smoke cigarettes and sabotage myself). However, I thank God EVERY DAY that, HE loves me … since I STILL don’t seem to know HOW to do that, even now, as I approach my own death.

    Please pray for me!

    • Hi Sue: Your post blows me away! Wow. You have been through a lot. You have my condolences on the loss of your fiancé. My heart breaks for you. You will definitely be in my prayers. I am glad that you found your way back to the Catholic Church. May you find some solace in the Eucharist. Your comment to the people in Bible Study is actually correct, in that you must first learn to love yourself, before you could possibly love others. How can anyone love someone else, if they don’t even know how to love him or herself? Your logic is on target. My suggestion to you is to soak up the love of God. He loves you no matter what. Let His love and grace wash over you, heal you, and help you to love yourself. You are special to Him, now and forever. Never forget that. – Peace, Virginia

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