That is good news: You must not murder, the commandment says
“You must not murder.” Exodus 20:13 NLT
The commandment we are looking at this week seems in the reading to be a cut and dry directive.
It is necessary to note that the Authorized Version, KJV, translates the word murder as “kill.” This translation, however, is not the modern accepted view of the original Hebrew word as most scholars agree on the word and concept of “murder.”
We find affirmation of this translation and command in the New Testament as well.
Jesus has a conversation with a man referred to as a rich young ruler and mentions specifically in Matthew 19:18, Mark 10:19 and Luke 18:20 the command to not murder.
Paul also teaches this command in his words in Romans 1:29 and in 1 Timothy 1:9. Numerous other NT writers mention the commandment to not murder as well.
The Lord does not want us murdering each other.
Even our modern system of law recognizes the illegal, immoral and criminal act of murder.
Murder is the antithesis of the summation of all the commandments to Love God with our whole selves and love our neighbor as well as yourself. To murder is to purposefully and intentionally desire to enact violence upon another person so as to end their life.
There is no love in murder.
This command speaks even deeper into our human relationships and calls us to value human life. Human history is plagued with the atrocities of kingdoms, governments, and murderers who show a complete lack for the value of human life.
What concerns me today, is that although most people are against the actual act of murder, we have become very comfortable with picking and choosing how life is valued in many of our practices.
There are people who will stand up for immigrants on the border, human and sex trafficked victims and particular rights for certain folks, but do not see the issue with intentionally taking the life of a baby in a mother’s womb.
On the other hand, there are those who protest the killing of unborn babies but fail to value and stand up for the marginalized, poor and forgotten of our world.
If the underlying idea of not committing murder is valuing human life, we still have a long way to go in this nation to show the heart of this commandment.
I challenge each one reading this to consider your attitudes and positions on the value of human life. God values life, He sent His Son to redeem it.
One of the major and ongoing transformations that must take place in the life of a Christian is moving from hostility to hospitality. It is living in hospitality that we learn to sow the Holy love of God in the world around us and move away from the hostility that leads to the devaluation of human life, even to the point of murder.
Speaking of hospitality, I just want to show my gratitude to two restaurants here in Orange for their amazing hospitality (and obviously great food) in the way they help me meet with folks for both breakfast and lunch.
Ten West Diner and Lucy’s Café are my favorite “go-to” places and the owners and staff are always kind, considerate and of course, hospitable. Their restaurants are great examples of how to value and treat people. Thank you to both places.
Friends, all lives matter to God and all lives should matter to the Christian.
The value of life can be seen by the price Christ was willing to pay to redeem our lives from sin, hell, and death. That Is Good News!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, in Orange.