You Shall Not Murder

Have you ever memorized the Ten Commandments? Can you recall them now?

  1. I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make or worship an idol.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet (socially, sexually, materially).

Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-21

How are you doing on keeping these? Now I remember why I don't focus on them very much! If I dig down just a little bit, every commandment is HUGE and brings conviction to me. I know you are much better than I am, but I suspect there might be some room for growth or change in at least one or two areas. Am I right?

So, for this "Thought", I want to consider murder. Take the easy one, check it off, 10% done! Have you ever murdered anyone? Most of us have not crossed that line. I think most of us also realize that there are steps that lead us to murder, and we stop ourselves long before we get there. Let's consider those steps.

First, we have unfulfilled expectations. Then we are hurt and take offense at those people or circumstances that keep us from what we expect or "deserve". Once we are offended, if we let that offense settle in, we easily move into anger at a person, at life, at God. If we accept anger, it becomes a part of us. Anger stirs us up and keeps reminding us of how unfairly we have been treated. Anger robs us of peace and joy and can easily lead to hate. Hate is loathing or hostility toward something or someone. Hate causes us to store up anger and wrath. That gets us right at the door of murder.

We have an anger problem today. We have a hatred problem. We have a murder problem. Jesus delivered a very famous message, often referred to as the Sermon on the Mount, during another time when there was a tremendous rise of hatred and anger and murder. Let me just pick out a few phrases from the first part of Jesus' message in Matthew 5... You have heard it said that you shall not murder . . . but I tell you that whoever is angry with his brother and whoever insults his brother and whoever says to his brother, "you fool", will be liable to the hell of fire . . . If your brother has something against you, go and be reconciled . . . You are the salt of the earth . . . You are the light of the world . . . Let your light shine before others that they may see your life and give glory to your Father who is in heaven . . . Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you . . . Let your life be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect!

I think Jesus' message to us is this . . . I am concerned about the world, but I am more concerned about what is going on with you. Let anger go, don't take offense, don't let hatred and contempt have any place in your mind and heart and spirit. Stop it! Forgive. Love. Rejoice. Lay down your life for those you care about and those you don't even know and for those who do you harm.

The evidence or the fruit of the Spirit of God being in us is a life that is marked by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). These gifts of the Holy Spirit do not leave room in our soul or spirit or heart for anger and hatred and contempt and wrath. Jesus is a man of peace. Let's follow Him!

Stan Holmes