Thursday, March 1, 2012

You are murdering me!

Have you ever been so frustrated with someone, boiling over with all kinds of not so nice kinds of thoughts about them?  At some point, you may have even thought someone would just be "better off" dead because they are a total loss according to the standards of our society, or in some other world, just as long as it was not YOURS!  Most of us would never consider murder as an option for dealing with someone we'd rather eliminate from our lives, though!  So, why does God feel it is so important to tell us not to murder someone?

13 “You must not murder."  (Exodus 20:13 New Living Translation)

Society classifies murder into two buckets - premeditated (deliberate and planned) and without premeditation (more of an accidental thing in the commission of another crime such as speeding).  Without getting too deep here, God really does not approve of the loss of life at the hand of another when it is deliberate.  

I believe God is aiming at the taking of a life during moments of fury, stirring our emotions to the point of such agitation, exploding in actions which result in the loss of life.  In fact, he made a way for those who accidentally took a life to have a place of refuge (cities of refuge - see Exodus 21).  If your cart was loaned to a man, for instance - wheels coming off in the use of the cart, and the man tumbled down a hill to his death - this was not deliberate, nor was it premeditated - therefore, the "judgment" for this loss of life was not the same.  It was "manslaughter", but not murder.  Killing, not murder.

Many may ask about war.  Is war the deliberate taking of life?  Well, I can only answer from what we see in the scripture.  God certainly did not hesitate to instruct the armies of Israel to enter into the Promised Land, swords in hand, often eliminating completely the inhabitants of the land.  You may not realize God uses two different Hebrew words, both translated in scripture as "murder".  One means to murder - the other means to put to death.  

The action God was forbidding in the Commandment was that which is spurred on by anger, jealousy, hatred, and the like.  These emotions actually "burn within" a man, bringing about actions which are in-congruent with the desires of God's heart.  The first "murder" recorded in scripture was the action of Cain toward Abel in Genesis 4:8.  This action of Cain was condemned by God - simply because it stemmed from emotions of jealousy, spurring him to anger, and maybe even a little hatred, as well.  

In God's instructions throughout scripture, clearly he allowed the taking of life in actions of war.  Yet, he condemned the taking of life in response to a deep-seated hatred for our brother or sister.  So, we must look deep within the heart at the "pre-meditation" of the action in order to differentiate between "murder" and the "taking of life".  As with all of God's commands for living well, he refers us to consider the heart!  This command is no different.  Only he can truly examine the heart of man and know the basis for the action man takes.