What God Wrote in Stone Day 8 – Do Not Murder
You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13, ESV)
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall this blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. (Genesis 9:6, ESV)
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:15, ESV)
Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. (Genesis 4:8, ESV)
Last week we began our study on the Ten Commandments, and even though we are now in the day of grace and not living under the Law, we sought to apply the principles in the Law to our lives today. This week we’ll continue with the second half of the commandments.
Perhaps one of the most awful crimes we can imagine is the crime of murder. The offense is twofold: not only does it end a life created by God, but that life was also stolen by the offender. Who has the right to steal the life of an innocent person, abruptly ending years of connection and the making of memories with those who love them? Even more tragic is the loss of fulfilling a lifetime of purpose from the God who created them in His own image. It’s senseless and always heartbreaking, and it creates a real sense of fear because it can happen to anyone.
We don’t have to look far past the time of the creation of humankind to find the true state of our hearts. Sin entered the world the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and just four chapters into God’s Word, we read of the human race descending to the depravity of murder. This was not the murder of someone bad (though equally inexcusable), but Cain murdered his innocent brother because he was jealous of him. There is always some sin that precedes the sin of murder—the calculated taking of a life. It may begin with jealousy, anger, deceit, betrayal, or revenge. These feelings take over good sense and conscience so much so that the decision is made to end a life we no longer value. How wicked our hearts can be!
There are times, though, when the taking of a life isn’t considered murder. One example is killing in self defense when our life is threatened. Another would be the administration of death penalty—paying for a crime by being put to death. Capital punishment is as old as the time of Noah in the Old Testament (see Genesis 9:6). In fact, if someone disobeyed the commandment not to murder, they forfeited their own life for taking the innocent life of another. God created life and highly values it. Life is not ours to take—it belongs to Him.
Murder begins in our hearts and minds. Scripture even tells us that hating our brother already condemns us as a murderer (1 John 3:15). That’s why it’s so important to guard our hearts; whatever is in our hearts will flow out in our words and actions. Therefore, by having pure hearts that are set on the love of Christ, which is accomplished by implanting God’s Word in our hearts, we have safeguards in place to protect us from sinful decisions and actions.
Maybe murder isn’t something you’ve seriously contemplated, but you’ve daydreamed about how much easier life would be if a certain person were no longer around to complicate your life. Or you’ve wished someone were not around because you just really don’t like them. That sounds a lot more relatable, I’m guessing; it sure does to me. But you know what? These are thoughts God hates; we cannot despise life He has created. The person we seriously dislike? God loves them, God created them, God has a plan for them.
Ticking through the Ten Commandments, it’s easy to think we are guiltless when it comes to number six. But on closer inspection, you may find (like me) that you’re not as innocent as you may have thought. What God values, I must also value. What He’s created, I must honor and care for. May we ask for softer hearts—hearts that love the way He loves and that respect everyone. May we start that heart softening by sowing seeds found in His Word—seeds of respect, honor and love—and may we never look upon another with jealousy or deceit in our hearts.