A story released today by the Associated Press tells of the capture in Italy of Salvatore Lo Piccolo. This man was a key figure in a power struggle in the Sicilian Mafia, hoping to become the next “boss of bosses.” In Lo Piccolo’s possession were found documents, including one of special interest. It has been dubbed “The Godfather’s Ten Commandments”.
The commandments represent a code of “ethics” (if that word may be used in this setting) for all who dare to join this band of criminals. Mafia members are forbidden, for example, to hang out in bars, to make friends with police officers, or to desire a fellow Mafia member’s wife. The fifth commandment makes clear the commitment these gangsters must make: the mobster is to “be available for Cosa Nostra at any moment, even if your wife is about to give birth.”
Why would anyone be tempted to join such an evil organization? The commandments make clear that those who break the commandments will suffer greatly; his entire family is also put at risk. “Mercy” is not mentioned anywhere. Some obviously see great reward in joining the ranks. Dreams of power, unlimited wealth and “brotherhood” are apparently what attract people to the Mafia.
How much better to join the ranks of the true Boss! That God is sovereign over all the banded forces of evil is made clear in Psalm 2: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision” (Psalm 2:2-4, NKJV).
The Mafia, so feared by man, is no threat at all to God.
In addition to this truth is the gift of peace. Even Lo Piccolo, according to this report, had been on the run since 1993. Every knock on the door was the source of heart palpitations. Every handshake was received with suspicion, wondering whether this person could be trusted. “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked'” (Isaiah 57:20,21).
Those who serve God, however, can sleep well at night: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
Yes, God has laws that his people must be careful to keep. But there is where any similarity between the Lord and the Mafia end. The rewards of living for God far surpass anything that any other way of life can offer.
To whom will we give our allegiance – and why?