‘You shall not murder.” (Deuteronomy 5:17 ESV).
This is the immoral, careless killing of another (murder), but also includes the death of another because of negligence or carelessness (manslaughter). This verb is never used when describing killing in war so apparently there is a distinction. The bible prohibits murder because we are image bearers (Genesis 1:26–27; 9:6); we have special status as being reflectors of God’s glory in a unique way. So murder is, in a way, an attack on God.
The polar opposite of murder (fueled by hate) is love as highlighted in Leviticus 19:17-18: ““You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”
Loving our neighbor is repeated in the New Testament by Jesus, Paul & James:
- Matthew 22:37–40: “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.””
- Romans 13:9: “For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Galatians 5:14: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”
- James 2:8: “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.”
Jesus’ teaching on this in the Sermon on the Mount gets to the real heart of the problem: anger. ““You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:21–24 ESV). If you are angry, then your heart is not free. Jesus knows that if He gets our hearts under control then our actions will follow. He is restoring His image within us so that we actually are becoming more human (as God designed us to be). We can’t kill anger any more than we can produce love on our own – we need outside assistance! Let us place ourselves in proximity to God’s grace by our spiritual disciplines and let us plead with Him to change our hearts, motivations & affections.