The Sixth Commandment – The World in Front of the Text

Today we are going to look at the world in front of the text of the Sixth Commandment found in Exodus 20:13:

You shall not murder

rootedchristYesterday we talked about how the word for murder in Hebrew means both the purposeful taking of a life, as well as accidental. This commandment reminds us not just that we should not kill, but that every life is sacred.  Every life is from God.  We should live with the sacred respect for all of life.  I want to share with you, a couple of deeper things that I think that this passage calls us to remember.

First, I want to talk about something that I’ve seen up close and personal as a pastor.  I’ve been blessed to have been a pastor to many folks who have served in a military.  Our soldiers are often asked to do terribly difficult things, things that are tremendous sacrifices, and those sacrifices should call us all to be so very thankful to them for their service. But many of these brave men and women carry around the burden and the scars of their sacrifices.  I have met many good men and women who carry a heavy pain because they feel as though they have broken this command through their service.  Scripture always draws a distinction between “murder” and “killing” and the duty of a soldier.  Remember that David was a man after God’s own heart, and he was a soldier.  Later in the New Testament, many soldiers came into contact with John the Baptist and later Jesus.  In none of these encounters did John, or Jesus, ever condemn them for being a solider or tell hem to leave it behind.  Soldiers have to often make great and terrible decisions in the line of battle. But this command not murder it completely different from the realities of warfare and being a soldier.

Second, this pass calls us to see all life as sacred.  We are called to advocate for all life, from unborn to all types of persons within our world.  Everyone is made in the image of God.  We must be in the business of advocating for life in every way, shape, and form. From the unborn to the elderly, all life is sacred. We should treat all life with respect, we should treat all persons with the reality who they are, someone for whom Christ died.  The command reminds us that we must see all life as a gift from God and sacred.

And one final thing to remember, Jesus always calls us deeper.  He reminds us in the Sermon on the Mount if we have anger in our hearts, we are subject to judgment. For Jesus, it is always deeper.  Avoiding murder is good, but that’s actually pretty easy.  The issues of the heart, they are so much deeper. And that is where Jesus calls us, that is where we are supposed to go.  Not just our actions, but our heart. For where our heart is, there is our actions.  Jesus calls us, over and over again, focus on the heart. That’s where it all begins.

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