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The second Commandment-- 'you must not make for yourself an idol'

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Photo: Amazon.com

The second Commandment is very similar to the first, "You must not make for yourself an idol" (NLT). This commandment seems basic, but in reality it is a little more difficult to accomplish. First and foremost, what defines "idol"?

According to the Websters dictionary, an idol is a "representation or symbol of an object of worship". That statement seems quite broad. Most people think of the word "idol" and they think of golden cows, or wooden monkeys, or something like that. Other people think of idols as superstars that kids envy and desire to be like. For example, Michael Jackson was many peoples' idol.

However, the term "idol" can mean so much more than that. Think about it, Christians wear crosses every day, churches have crucifixes all over the place, and some even have the virgin Mary hanging on the walls. Aren't these somehow idols? Don't they represent or symbolize something that we worship? What about the first dollar that people put in a frame and look at with pride? Isn't that somehow an idol? People don't really worship money, or do they? Don't they desire it above all else? Also the little trolls that old women kiss in order to have good luck with bingo. What seems to be a small superstition can easily turn into or be defined as idolatry.

I am not saying that people should no longer wear crosses. Sometimes they help keep us reminded of what we really do believe. However, rubbing or kissing the cross is not going to help us better than praying to God will. When people bow down to the altar, make sure they are not bowing down to the cross, but bowing down to Jesus. It isn't that difficult to absent-mindedly worship an idol. People's daily routines don't even consider what they are truly doing.

Next time you think about the Saint Christopher's pin or purchasing your next gold chain with the crucifix, think to yourself that what you have is not going to do you any good. St. Christopher is not going to protect you and the crucifix offers no advice. God, and only God, is what you need!

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