The Commandments Are Not Edicts To Make Us Miserable

Have you ever touched a hot stove? Dealing with a burned hand, or even several fingers, is not pleasant. The pain lasts a long time and if the burn is bad enough, the scar can last a lifetime. Parents often warn their children: “Don’t touch it, it’s hot!” These parents might be trying to help their children avoid the pain that they themselves experienced as a child, if they did not know better and touched a hot stove. God gives us similar warnings to prevent us from getting hurt. They are in our best interest, so why do we so often disregard His warnings?

That answer is simple. Satan is the great deceiver. He distorts the truth and tricks us into thinking that we know what is best for ourselves. He leads us to believe that the desires of this world will bring us happiness. Satan is a liar.

Of course it is not just the hot stove that parents caution their children about, it’s the hot iron, hot oven, hot soup, hot chocolate, and hot pizza, all in addition to the other endless lists of warnings parents have for their children. Parents have this long list of warnings because they never want to see their children get hurt. In a similar way, God has a long list of safeguards for us.

For the same, very loving reason, God gave us the commandments. His commandments are not edicts to make our life miserable, they are quite the opposite. Their core purpose is to give us joy in this life and to guide us to eternity with Him in the next.

Psalm 119:127 states, “Truly I love your commandments more than gold, more than the finest gold.”  We should all ask ourselves, “Do I truly love the commandments or do I dread them and see them merely as roadblocks that prevent me from doing things I want to do?” I wonder if anyone loves the commandments like we should? I realize that God knows what is in our best interest more than we do, yet too often His instructions seem like a list of rules.

God wants nothing more than for us to have life abundantly and for us to spend eternity with Him. He doesn’t want us to, “get burned.” He cares too much for us. His teachings and commands assure us of the outcome He seeks for us. Why don’t we always see them that way?

Let’s look at a few other verses the psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:

  • I have examined my ways and turned my steps to your testimonies. I am prompt, I do not hesitate in observing your commandments.
  • The earth, LORD, is filled with your mercy; teach me your statutes.
  • Teach me wisdom and knowledge, for in your commandments I trust.
  • Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I hold to your promise. You are good and do what is good; teach me your statutes.
  • Your law is my delight.
  • It was good for me to be afflicted, in order to learn your statutes.
  • Truly I love your commandments more than gold, more than the finest gold.
  • Thus, I follow all your precepts; every wrong way I hate. I sigh with open mouth, yearning for your commandments.

The psalmist gave praise to God and found joy in all of His laws. The psalmist knew that God’s word was guiding and directing His footsteps. Maybe we should each add one or two of these statements to our daily prayers.

Here are a few discussion questions:

  • Do I truly embrace God’s commandments?
  • Are there a few of His laws I find hard to accept?
  • Do I sometimes see His commands as “gotcha” clauses merely designed to prevent me from reaching Heaven one day?
  • Why do you think we frequently disobey God’s directives and as a result “burn our fingers”?

Lord God, your ways are truly above my ways, help me to embrace your statutes because I know you only want what is best for me. Amen!


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Brian Pusateri
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  1. Patty McConnell on August 1, 2023 at 7:30 pm

    I think your article is very appropriate for today’s society. Starting with theologians! We have become “cafeteria”Catholics. We pick and choose which laws we want to hold on to.
    With particular situations, we seek out priests who will tell us what we want to hear. Yes, even within the Church, each of us needs to ask ourselves, “do I really love your laws, OLord”? We sing the words, but do we really mean what we sing in the responsorial psalm, “I love your laws……”.

    Your words this week touched my heart and brought me to my knees. My honest prayer is more like, “I want to love your laws O Lord”! I am asking for the grace for a deeper desire to embrace your laws and to be more grateful for them! Thank you Brian and God bless you and yours!! Patty McConnell, Burlington, ON

    • Brian Pusateri on August 1, 2023 at 8:27 pm


      Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts on this message.


  2. Thomas Heghmann on August 1, 2023 at 9:14 am

    Good morning Brian, thank you for another encouraging and enlightening communication. As I’m reading this today, it is the feast of Alphonse’s Liguori, and the optional gospel reading at mass today was used.
    Mt 5:13-19
    Jesus said to his disciples:
    “You are the salt of the earth.
    But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
    It is no longer good for anything
    but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
    You are the light of the world.
    A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
    Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
    it is set on a lampstand,
    where it gives light to all in the house.
    Just so, your light must shine before others,
    that they may see your good deeds
    and glorify your heavenly Father.

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
    I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
    Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
    not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
    will pass from the law,
    until all things have taken place.
    Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
    and teaches others to do so
    will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
    But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
    will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

    Again your letter is timely. Thank you and thank you to the Sunday school teachers that commented for their service.
    Wishing you a blessed day 🙏

    • Brian Pusateri on August 1, 2023 at 8:25 pm


      Thank you for your post. Well stated.


  3. Larry Rybka on August 1, 2023 at 5:26 am

    Good write up. Wendy and I are teaching the 10 commandments to 1st grade Sunday School this summer and it is a great reminder that God put these commandments in place for not only individual flourishing but for to protect families and communities. Many of saddest stories in the news are evidence of what happens when they are abandoned.

    • Brian Pusateri on August 1, 2023 at 5:33 am


      Those 1st graders are blessed to have you and Wendy teaching them these important principles. Thanks for your post.


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