You shall not murder (Deuteronomy 5:17)
Whew! We are all thinking that finally we have a ‘command’ that we know… and most of us can say we have obeyed it! (if you haven’t obeyed this one, or you know someone who hasn’t… and you’re ‘doin’ time’, send me an email or call my office and we can talk about God’s forgiveness).
“You shall not murder” may be a pretty simple one for most people to check off of their list. Most of us know that taking another human life is wrong and tragic. Most of us know that, even though someone may wrong us badly, tick us off, or annoy the heck out of us, murder is not the answer. Most of us know that, philosophically, humankind has to work together and not murder one another in order for the world to be the best place it can be.
But, as funny as it sounds to say… not murdering is just a step towards really being the person God wants us to be. Jesus, in his teaching, took it a step further (Matthew 5:21-22):
You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment
The real issue at hand is far more common and ordinary than murder. If we look at nationwide statistics we find that violent crimes in general are heavily concentrated around ‘domestic disputes’ or, in other words, between people who know one another and have a relationship with one another. Oftentimes, the root cause is anger, hostility, animosity that builds and festers over time. Jesus knew this… we know this. We are most likely to lash out and harm another when we are holding in our anger and resentment (whether justified or unjustified).
If you can say, “I’ve obeyed the 6th commandment!” I challenge you to take on Jesus’ version.