Most of us know all 10 commandments (or at least most of them) that are written in Exodus 20. And most of us are pretty good with them, because they follow our rules of society: don't steal, don't murder, obey your parents, etc. But what about the 10th commandment, thou shalt not covet? Do we generally find that one easy to follow also? Do the rules of society support this commandment like they do the others?
When translated from Hebrew to English, covet literally means, in the negative sense, to lust after. It means to have an unhealthy desire for something, particularly if it belongs to someone else. Coveting turns people into objects and objects into idols. Coveting involves envy - resenting the fact that others have what you don't.
Man is covetous by nature. You know it's true, we always want what we can't have! Why else would we have to have commandments that say don't steal and don't murder. Those actions are often the end result of coveting something or someone. Even the dictionary defines coveting as exceeding reasonable limits of craving what another person has. Coveting is at the heart of many other things the Bible teaches us is wrong: jealousy, pay your taxes, don't be greedy, have patience, etc.
Coveting has always kind of been hard for me to understand. I've experienced wanting something someone else has, or even wanting to be like someone else, but it's never gone so far as causing me to commit a crime (remember David putting Uriah on the front lines of battle because of his covetousness for the man's wife, Bathsheba? That was some serious coveting!). Lately, however, I find myself looking around and coveting the other babies I see. It's not like I want those other babies. But when I see someone with a beautiful healthy babe, it's more like I covet that experience. I covet no dr. appointments, no car screaming, being able to sleep without 3+ hours of crying, and no seizure medication! I covet normal development, and knowing your child will be able to do everything they're supposed to at the right time. I covet normal head growth. And as I really examined my heart before taking communion this last weekend, I realized that this coveting I do could become a cancer to my soul if I'm not careful to keep it in check.
I don't believe this coveting will drive me to commit a crime, but if I don't watch it, it could really hurt my family. This coveting in my heart may lead to discontentment, which may lead to seeking contentment elsewhere, which could mean a lot of heartache and hurt before it's taken care of. I'd like to avoid that! So, before it's out of control, I will choose to keep my covetousness in check by reminding myself daily that I have a beautiful baby, who 23 weeks ago I was told would die. I need to find the GOOD things in this situation (and it's not like we're lacking in good things!) and focus on those. I need to quit making excuses or pretending things aren't there that really are. And I need to love my baby for who she is, not who she MIGHT have been if this or if that. Nobody is given a guarantee with their children, it's just the luck-of-the-draw.