VI – “Thou Shalt Not Kill”
A Sunday School teacher was discussing the 10 commandments with her 5 & 6 year olds. After explaining the commandment to “honor your father and mother,” she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Quickly, one of the kids answered, “Thou shalt not kill.”
What I would like to do in this chapter is this:
1. Answer why God gave this command.
2. Consider what exactly is prohibited by this command.
3. Consider what is not covered by this command.
4. Consider the N.T perspectives on this command.
First, why did God give this command? – Simply put, because we are made in the image of God. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
We are the very top of the creation of God, the very greatest things he created on this earth. We are created with God’s very image stamped on us. That doesn’t mean that God looks like us – it means that our spiritual being is shaped like his. God has a mind, we have a mind. God has a will, we have a will. God has emotions, and we have emotions. This is the reason you’ll never see a depressed cow! They weren’t created in God’s image.
Also, because God is the giver of life. “He is the God who made the world and every-thing in it. . . He himself gives life and breath to everything.” (Acts 17:24-25 (NLT)
Second, what exactly is prohibited by this command?
1. Murder: (being a premeditated act.)
2. Manslaughter: (killing of another on the spur of the moment.) Which may be voluntary or involuntary.
3. Death resulting by acts of negligence.
Third, What is not covered by this command;
1. The killing of animals, insects, etc. (An unfortunate and wrong result of some folks reading of the KJV is that all killing is prohibited God.)
2. The states action of carrying out the death penalty. And,
What about the New Testament perspective of this command?
God is not just concerned with the outside, he’s also concerned with your heart! He’s not just concerned that your body is doing the right actions, he’s concerned that your heart has the right attitudes!
Jesus came along and said, (paraphrase) “God’s not just interested in whether you kill, he’s concerned with whether you would kill if you had the chance. He’s concerned with your heart – what you would do if you thought you could get away with it.”
What he actually said was “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Matthew 5:21-22 (NKJV) (Anger leads to many bad things.)
What Jesus did, is move the commandments from just outward actions – “kill” – to inward attitudes and motives – “hate.” Why? Because anger and hate and bigotry and racism and the like, all can lead to “killing”.
You see, anger affects everyone. Not just you, but those around you. It’s very contagious!
In his autobiography, “Number 1”, Billy Martin told about hunting in Texas with Mickey Mantle. Mickey had a friend who would let them hunt on his ranch. When they reached the ranch, Mickey told Billy to wait in the car while he checked in with his friend. Mantle’s friend quickly gave them permission to hunt, but he asked Mickey a favor. He had a pet mule in the barn who was going blind, and he
didn’t have the heart to put him out of his misery; so, he asked Mickey to shoot the mule for him. When Mickey came back to the car, he pretended to be angry. He scowled and slammed the door. Billy asked him what was wrong, and Mickey said his friend wouldn’t let them hunt. “I’m so mad at that guy,” Mantle said, “I’m going out to his barn and shoot one of his mules!” Mantle drove like a maniac to the barn. Martin protested, “We can’t do that!” But Mickey was adamant. “Just watch me,” he shouted. When they got to the barn, Mantle jumped out of the car with his rifle, ran inside, and shot the mule. As he was leaving, he heard two shots, and he ran back to the car. He saw that Martin had taken out his rifle, too. “What are you doing, Martin?” he yelled. Martin yelled back, face red with anger, “We’ll show him! I just shot one of his cows!” Anger can be dangerously contagious.
Many parents have passed on to their children their own anger. They’re so angry because of – (you fill in the blank) – that they pass on their hatred. So, how does this command prevent pain in our life? Let me explain:
If you break God’s commands on the outside, often the pain will be on the outside. (If you pull the trigger and kill someone, they’ll put you in jail.) But if you break God’s command on the inside, like we’ve been talking about concerning anger or hate, guess where the pain comes? That’s right. It’s all inside! When you bottle up hatred and anger, when you have a heart to kill, even when your body wouldn’t do it, they won’t put you in jail. But it will cause damage and pain and hurt and guilt in your heart that will mess you up and only God can heal!