This is the seventh post in this series on the 10 Commandments. The previous posts in this series were:
In the 1st four Commandments God teaches us how we are to relate to, honor, obey and respect Him. In the following six Commandments God teaches us how to relate to, honor and respect each other.
So, let’s take a good look at the 6th Commandment, and consider what it says to us.
There has been a lot of debate in the past as far as should Christians fight in wars. Should Christians be against the death penalty, or should Christians defend themselves and their families against criminals. This confusion is due in a large part to some bible translations.
If you look in the King James or New King James the 6th Commandment is shown as “You shall not kill”. Well, if we are to take that at face value we will believe that we are not to kill under any circumstance. That is why you see Christians outside of prisons protesting the execution of some heinous criminal. Their intention is understandable but their conclusion is wrong.
Most of the more modern bibles like the Holman, NASB, ISV, etc. translate Exodus 20:13 correctly as “You shall not murder”. Now when you consider the intent expressed by these two translations, you will see a big difference in their meaning.
God does not want us taking revenge or murdering people who have done us wrong or made us mad. Even if someone were, God forbid, to kill one of our loved ones, we can not later track them down and murder them. It is one thing to kill someone while defending yourself or others, but it is another thing altogether to exact revenge at another time. God has given the authority and responsibility to exact revenge to the governing body, but never to the individual.
With that said, most of us will never run into this situation, and I’m very grateful for that. Where we run up against the 6th Commandment is in our hearts.
Matthew 5:21-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
(Murder Begins in the Heart)
21 “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors,[a] Do not murder,[b] and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. 22 But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother[c] will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool!’[d] will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron!’ will be subject to hellfire.[e]
The above scripture describes a disdain and total disrespect for another. Now I know we are not going to like everyone we meet or have to deal with, but even those we don’t really like, there is no call for hatred toward them. That is not God’s way. It is one thing to judge a bad or hateful behavior, but another thing all together to despise someone because of that fault. Let’s look at another example from Jesus on murder being a heart condition as He was arguing with the Pharisees over eating with dirty hands.
Matthew 15:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
15 Then Pharisees and scribes came from Jerusalem to Jesus and asked, 2 “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they don’t wash their hands when they eat!”[a] 3 He answered them, “And why do you break God’s commandment because of your tradition?
Jesus frustrated with their blind adherence to the Traditions of the Elders, points out to them that one does not become defiled because he did not wash his hands before eating, but defilement came from within.
Matthew 15:10-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
(Defilement is from within)
10 Summoning the crowd, He told them, “Listen and understand: 11 It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
Then Peter asks Jesus to elaborate on what He was talking about a little later on.
Matthew 15:17-20 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
17 “Don’t you realize[b] that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is eliminated?[c] 18 But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. 20 These are the things that defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
I don’t know about you, but I have been part of a few church organizations where you would think people never read these scriptures. You can be sure that within the people who read this post there are differences in some doctrinal beliefs. There will be differences on the day we worship, or on our interpretation of what some scriptures mean. Does that mean we have no fellowship with one another? Because one calls our Savior Jesus and another Yashua does that mean we have no fellowship or should despise each other? Because someone’s hair is longer than you think is appropriate, or because someone doesn’t dress the way we like at church, or because they haven’t given up their cigarette habit, does that give us the right to be self-righteous and despise them? Remember, the Pharisees were really good at keeping the letter of the law, especially the Traditions of the Elders, or their Oral Law, but Jesus constantly rebuked them because of the hardness of their hearts.
When we despise someone, especially a brother, due to offense, differences, jealousy, weaknesses or for whatever reason, we are despising a child of God. How would you feel about someone despising one of your children? When we despise or hate someone we offend God, and defile ourselves and spiritually commit murder in our hearts.
When Jesus came and tabernacled with us He enhanced the Law from a list of basic instructions that told us right from wrong, to an all encompassing guide to eternal life with Him, in His Kingdom. We cannot hate a brother and have fellowship with Christ and the Father. If you struggle with intense bad feelings toward another, my best suggestion would be to spend some serious time on your knees asking God to heal your heart, and help you overcome those feelings. We must overcome all hated in our hearts if we are to enter into life eternal.
Revelation 2:7 New King James Version (NKJV)
7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’
May God bless us all, and teach us to love as He loves!
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