“You shall not murder.” Four words. For most, not difficult to follow.
But, this is part of the Ten Commandments, commandments that all Christians are instructed to live. I know I’m not supposed to murder someone and I’ve managed to not break this Commandment for the 45 years of my life. I suspect whatever your age you’ve been able to keep from doing this too.
So, how do you and I apply this Commandment? Is there more to it than that you and I just don’t kill someone with premeditation and or deliberately take someone else’s life?
I think yes. Jesus said it’s a matter of the heart. In other words, it’s in our very nature.
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:19)
First, there are ways that we can act, feel, or live as though someone else’s life is worth less than our own. That is what murder basically is: believing someone’s life is worth less than it actually is. In what ways, then, do we do that?
Here are five ways we kill without killing:
This is deliberately placing myself ahead of others in the workplace or family. Telling myself, “I’m more important than you; I need to advance first even if it’s at your expense.
Witnessing wrongs or injustices I could help change but not seeing those affected important enough to risk my reputation.
3. Character Assassination.
Picking apart other people by their weakest points while inflating myself by my strongest.
Competing to defeat instead of deliberately helping others to succeed.
Fear of loss or being bettered by another casing what we always define as righteous indignation.
Though the above may not be pulling the trigger and ending a life, they reveal the same heart issue that causes someone to do so.
The next important question, then, is this: If the prohibition is to not murder, what is the permission? Or stated another way if the Commandment is to not take life what’s the calling? What is the opposite of murder?
The opposite of murder is to give life. How do we do that? Are we even equipped to do that?
Jesus made a promise that is recorded in the Gospel of John that explains how you and I can be life-givers instead of life-takers. Here it is:
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38)
Flowing through you and I, from the life-giver, life-maker himself are rivers of living water that are intended to come from God, through us, toward others. Living inside of all believers is this potential and opportunity.
Now, things have changed. Now we have life in us because the life-giver has moved in. Now when we interact with the people around us we no longer need to take life because we already have life—now we get to give life.
When you have that heart urge to self-promote, be indifferent, assassinate someone’s character, compete for position or recognition, or get angry remember–God have given us his Spirit so you and I can live the 6th Commandment. Not simply by restraining from taking life but by deliberately making a difference to give it.