By reading the Bible, it can be evidently noticed that God used people in order to pass specific messages to the other people as depicted in the Old Testament. Most of these people used by God to change the world ranged from prophets, priests to His Son Jesus among other anointed men in the Bible. One of the anointed men used by God was His servant Moses who played the great role of leading the children of Israel from the hands of King Pharaoh to the Promised Land, Canaan. God had spoken to Moses on several occasions, but on this occasion, He was giving to him the Ten Commandments, which he was to pass to the children of Israelites. According to Exodus Chapters 19 and 20, the Ten Commandments were given to Moses at the top of Mount Sinai as the other people waited for him at the foot of the mountain (Rooker, 2010, p.3). The Ten Commandments from God through Moses to the children of Israel included the following:
The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17 NKJV)
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Rooker, 2010, p.3).
Application of the Ethics
The Ten Commandments encompass a number of ethical dilemmas given the rules, which are put in place to be followed. As such, they place most of the human beings with a situation in which they are faced with ethical dilemmas wondering which way to follow. For instance, the ninth commandment requires that one does not bear false witness against other people (Johnston, n.d, p.1). This places most of the people with an ethical dilemma especially where the concealment of the information has the significance of protection rather than having the information revealed. The sixth commandment on murder presents people with an ethical dilemma especially those who disobey the commandment in a bid to protect themselves. This is mostly experienced in warfare by the army and the police officers. Additionally, another of the Ten Commandments that presents most people with ethical dilemmas is that on taking the name of the Lord in vain. For instance, most the criminals have been noted to violate this commandment in a bid to prove themselves guilty.
It is therefore evident that the Ten Commandments present people with ethical dilemmas by putting them at points of verge, not knowing what to do. The outcome of disobeying the Ten Commandments results to sin since the laws of God have been violated. Therefore, those who chose to overcome the ethical dilemma presented to them by violating any of the Ten Commandments normally sin against God. As such, it can be said that the Ten Commandments are examples of virtue ethics. They all deter people from committing vices such as murder, adultery, and deceit among other vices.
Application in the nursing profession
The nursing profession is among the many professions in which the personnel are presented with ethical dilemmas. To a larger extent, the Ten Commandments present the nurses and all those working in the healthcare fraternity with several instances of ethical dilemmas. Take for example cases where the nurses are forced by circumstances under the medical grounds to terminate the life of an individual. This could happen in instances of expectant mothers whose lives may be compromised by the little angels they are carrying in their wombs. In such cases, the nurses may be forced to end the life of either the mother or the baby in order to save the life of the other. As fate may have it, it is normally the life of the mother that is saved by having the life of the baby terminated. In other cases, a patient could have spent so much time on life support machines with no progress and due to the high medical bills that normally come about because of the life support machines care, the nurses could decide to stop the machines hence ending the life of the patient. Before making the decision to follow, the nurses are most often than not faced with ethical dilemmas. Nevertheless, one of the Ten Commandments is “You shall not kill” therefore, every time the nurses end the life of an individual they commit a sin. It is agreeable that the option they take is normally under medical ground and have no other alternative.
Secondly, the fourth of the Ten Commandments requires every person to keep the Sabbath Holy by not working on this day. However, this might not be applicable in the nursing profession, as patients have to be taken care of everyday including on the Sabbath. This means that nurses work on all days round the year since people keep on getting sick regardless of the day and time. As such, by working on the Sabbath the nurses go against the commandment of God. It can therefore be said that through making the decision on whether or not to work on the Sabbath, the nurses are normally presented with a situation of ethical dilemma.
In addition to this, in the nursing profession most of the nurses have found themselves having to bear false witness against one another especially when passing information considered serious to the patients (Johnston, n.d, p.1). In doing this, they go against the ninth commandment of the Ten Commandments from God. However, this comes about when giving the true information could pose great health risks to the patient in question. As such, most of them opt to deceive the patients in order to prevent their condition from worsening or some other times having to lose their lives because of the shock that could arise from the information. For example, a family involved in an accident and all the members are critically injured and taken to a healthcare facility. In the course of the treatment, one or some among the family members fail to survive the treatment and lose their battles in life. On inquiring about the welfare of the other members who in this case may have lost their lives, the survivors are not normally told the truth depending on their health states. The same case could also apply to a mother who losses a child after delivery with complications. The nurses always apply their ethical principles and withhold the true information until the patients are completely healed or at stages in which they can withstand any kind of information. Before making such a decision, the nurses are normally faced with ethical dilemmas not knowing whether to obey the laws of God or save the life of the patients.
The above discussion clearly indicates how the Ten Commandments present most people in different profession and even in their daily operations with situation of ethical dilemmas by having to choose either of the options yet both seem right (Hazony, 2010). It should however be noted that when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mount Sinai, He commanded that they be followed in order to avoid sinning against Him (Rooker, 2010). Nevertheless, people have been faced with situation in which they are forced to compromise the Ten Commandments in order to save lives among other important options taken (Hazony, 2010). This is mostly the case experienced in the nursing profession as well as the entire medical fraternity where ethics is of significant value in this line of operation. It therefore happens that most of the nurses in their routine duties go against some of the Ten Commandments for instance by committing murder, deceiving the patients, and failing to observe the Sabbath. This does not however mean that the nurses are sinners; they do it as a call, and to take care of us human beings. For instance, if they failed to work on the Sabbath, who would attend to those who fall sick on the same day? As a result, several lives would be lost, therefore to avoid this, the medical fraternity works round the clock as well on all days of the week to ensure efficient service delivery.
Hazony, D. (2010). The Ten Commandments: How Our Most Ancient Moral Text Can Renew Modern Life. New York: Scribner.
Johnston, R. (n.d). The Ten Commandments and Ethical Dilemmas. Web.
Rooker, M. (2010). The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group.