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Reading certain parts of the Bible can be convicting. While going through those particular portions, it helps if you can do so with some time-honored exemptions at hand to help soothe your squirming conscience. To help you get started, I’m happy to provide you with some well-worn loopholes to the Ten Commandments. Be sure to keep these at the ready the next time you’re reading through Exodus or Deuteronomy.

Commandment: You shall have no other gods before me, you shall not make for yourself an idol
Appropriate Loophole: We use to be able to simply get an out here by nodding our head sadly, thinking of the “heathens” in far-off countries who actually worship statues made of gold or various trees, rocks, and the like. Unfortunately, someone long ago botched that loophole by acknowledging an idol could be something other than the usual witchdoctor variety.
Now it’s better to allow yourself a small measure of guilt about watching too much TV or spending too much time on the internet. Better a little guilt over that than having to admit that perhaps you prefer to listen to your favorite Christian speaker than read God’s Word or that serving in the church has become a stand-in for a true relationship with Christ. Am I right?

Commandment: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God
Appropriate Loophole: This loophole is so widely known, I’m sure you already know it. This commandment is most definitely only forbidding using God’s name as a swear word. End of story. It’s not talking about using God to sanction something He never commanded. Please feel at ease to continue co-opting His name to lend support to your political party, consumer product, or latest dieting fad.

Commandment: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
Appropriate Loophole: Except if it’s a three-day weekend, then you’re free to party and ignore the part about keeping the Sabbath “holy” Also, no need to take a day of rest if you have college exams or papers due soon, extra projects at work, or just over-scheduled yourself.

Commandment: Honor your father and your mother
Appropriate Loophole: This one definitely has a time limit. I’m pretty sure in the original Hebrew, it is addressed only to people under 18 years of age. Once you’re not living under your parents’ roof anymore, this commandment simply doesn’t apply.

Commandment: You shall not murder
Appropriate Loophole: Americans have written several of the very popular loopholes to this commandment into law. Caveats may include: (1) unless it’s in self-defense (2) unless you feel like you’re being threatened and could be in a self-defense situation soon (3) unless it’s in a time of war (4) unless the person is a terrorist (5) unless the person has already murdered someone else.

Commandment: You shall not commit adultery
Appropriate Loophole: Everyone knows that adultery is a purely physical act. It doesn’t include your fantasy life or the books you read. Wait, what? Jesus said something different? I’m sorry, these are only loopholes for the Ten Commandments… You’re on your own with Jesus.

Commandment: You shall not steal
Appropriate Loophole: This is clearly only referring to physical items. Stealing someone’s dignity, respect, credit, skills, art, etc is definitely not included here.

Commandment: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor
Appropriate Loophole: Unless placed in the context of a prayer request. Then whatever you need to say to get the group to understand how hard they need to pray for someone who’s ruining their life, please feel free to say.

Commandment: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house… wife… manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor
Appropriate Loophole: Thank goodness that even the original Hebrew doesn’t contain references to the latest i-Phone, i-Touch, i-Pad, Wii, fashion, home décor trend, vacation hotspot, or thing you just saw on Pinterest. You are still completely free to spend as much money on those as you can borrow or charge on your credit cards.

I hope these loopholes help make your next read through the Ten Commandments a more comfortable experience! Can you think of any more?