“You shall not murder.”
(Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17)
THE FIRST MURDER
Soon after sin entered the world through Adam’s disobedience, the first murder was committed. Cain murdered his brother Abel in a jealous rage. Abel was obedient and doing things right with a right heart before YHWH God. Cain was doing things his own way, the wrong way. If you’re not doing things God’s way, you’re doing them wrong! (Genesis 4:3-8)
Cain would not change his heart to please God but still wanted the blessings that come from obedience. God had told Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (Genesis 4:7) We can all please God, if we trust Him and obey Him.
“We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.”
(1 John 3:12)
Murderers murder because they choose to do evil things.
The Sixth Commandment instructs, “You shall not murder.”
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Now, here’s one commandment I DO keep!” Perhaps you’re thinking that you haven’t, wouldn’t, COULDN’T murder anyone. That’s very good to know! Certainly, if you truly are keeping God’s Law of Love, and you “love your neighbor as yourself”, you would never murder them!
“The Jewish teachers had taught, that nothing except actual murder was forbidden by the sixth commandment. Thus, they explained away its spiritual meaning…” (Matthew Henry Commentary)
But there’s more to this commandment than not committing an act of murder. We should be careful NOT to “murder” with our thoughts and words as well!
“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15)
Love is goodwill. Hate is ill will. When you hate someone, you wish evil things to happen to them. Hate can lead a person to commit a violent, gruesome act of murder. But before a person commits murder, he is thinking bad thoughts towards them. Hateful thoughts can lead to hateful words and even to murder.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus compared murder to being angry with other people!
“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
Whoa! Jesus is very seriously against murderous, hateful thoughts! We should NOT be calling people mean, hateful names or cursing them! We should not allow sinful anger to take a hold in our hearts.
ENRAGED OR PEEVED?
The kind of sinful anger Jesus is talking about in His Sermon is hateful, intense anger that would want to hurt the other person, not just a displeasure or dislike. A more exact English word may be “rage”.
We all get a little peeved, a little angry sometimes. In my family, slow drivers in the fast left lane are a pet peeve because they obstruct the flow of traffic and cause congestion. (“Slower traffic keep right” is what the traffic signs read!) We may get a little irked, a little annoyed with the “slow pokes”, but we don’t have hateful, murderous anger towards them. We don’t curse them or act mean towards them. We don’t run them off the road to hurt them! That would be “road rage” and that IS sinful!
DON’T GET MAD OVER NOTHING
Every time one gets angry, it is not necessarily a sin or there wouldn’t be these Scriptures:
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (James 1:19)
If you do get angry, get over it quickly by forgiving quickly.
People can get angry over so many silly reasons. Someone is swinging on the swing you want. Someone is playing with your brand new ball. Someone is taking too long at the water fountain. A “slow poke” is in the fast lane. If we have the peace, the “shalom” of God, these little things might annoy us, but they will not make us angry. They won’t ruin our day, but will just roll off us. Chalk it up to life!
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11)
We will be happier people if we don’t take offense; if we don’t get angry over every little thing!
We should try not to get angry without a good reason, “without a cause” as Jesus said.
After reading this, we might want to ask the LORD to help us not to get angry easily with our neighbors. Or if you have ever thought, “I wish he were dead”, or said “Go to hell!” to someone, you might want to check you heart attitude. We might need to forgive others. We might need to ask forgiveness to those we hurt. If we repent, that is turn away from our sins, and turn to God for forgiveness, He does forgive us. After seeking forgiveness, we can ask YHWH God to fill us with His Holy Spirit and His love! Then we will have His peace, His shalom!
“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” (Psalm 37:8)
Suggested Song: “Don’t Fret!”