Re:Verse passage –Exodus 20:13 (day three)

Thou shalt not kill.

The word translated “kill” is often—very often—translated “murder” instead. That makes it easier to digest. Who of us would murder someone? Of course, people do indeed commit murder, but that occurrence is, predominately, far-removed from all but the most violent strata of our society, and although arguments abound for the classification of abortion as murder, that’s not the legal reality in which we currently live. The broader word “kill”, though, which the original language would convey—what do you do with that? You might immediately envision exceptions to the commandment: capital punishment, warfare, etc. The problem is that exceptions tend to multiply. If you thought about exceptions in light of the commandments, though, instead of thinking about the commandments in light of exceptions, how would that change the way the you live, if at all?

Author: Bryan Richardson

Bryan Richardson is the Associate Pastor for Counseling and Pastoral Ministries at FBCSA.

2 thoughts on “Kill”

  1. Is physical murder the only way to look at this? What about the spirit? How many people do we leave in our wake whose spirit is wounded/killed by our actions?

  2. I would like to touch on where you said, “Who of us would murder someone? Of course, people do indeed commit murder, but that occurrence is, predominately, far-removed from all but the most violent strata of our society…”
    This passage got me thinking, why are people compelled to murder? It might be due to a temperament issue, but many times the motivation ends up being jealousy, revenge, a twisted infatuation, insanity, even self-preservation. Throughout history, there have been many motivations for why a person could justify reducing someone’s “sanctity-of-life status” down to being sub-human thus justifying murder in their mind. Each motivation began with thoughts that were allowed to go down a very dark path before being acted out.
    The first murder that we know of was when Cain killed Able. God could see Cain’s thoughts headed down a dark path and in Genesis 4:6 he warns him, “Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
    In these verses, it is crystal clear that we are to master our thoughts. Sin “desires to have you”. Pre-meditated murder (as in Cain’s case) is one of those things that will take away your life while you are still alive. The consequences of it will separate you from the life you knew and your family, as it did with Cain. One may not be a violent person, but if they are having dark thoughts, then they are capable of dark things. All it takes is the perfect storm to set those thoughts on a destructive course to action. Since The Fall, all of us are capable of darkness. If you are struggling with dark thoughts, seek out a counselor/therapist, in the moment tell yourself “These thoughts are not helpful!” Immediately go do something physical and productive (go for a run, ride a bike, do yard work), pray about it and give it to God (remember, Christ died for those thoughts), read God’s word to get back on track, spend time with people who positively influence your life, entertain thoughts of forgiveness (even though it is hard at first and might take years, but begin to listen to that still small voice).
    This verse, “You shall not murder/kill.” is such a short and simple statement yet carries a heavy weight. It is very black and white and I think that was needed. When Cain did not heed God’s warning, God’s response was “Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” He warned Cain as he could see the dark thoughts headed down a path, then forced him to look at the results after they turned into action. The Holy Spirit serves us as a voice-of-warning today. Seek His guidance and stay in the light.
    One of the exceptions you mention is warfare, and I think it is important to remember that David was told he could not build the temple because he was a warrior, so it was passed down to his son.
    Agreed, our society says there are exceptions. I disagree with most of them. 😉

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