The Ten Commandments are all about
honor; it teaches us to revere the Lord and respect our neighbors. In the sixth
commandment, God tells us not to murder (Exodus 20:13). The Greek word used is
“rasah,” which is never used in the context of war, but pertains to
premeditated murder done out of vengeance and hatred. Each life is precious in
God’s eyes, and He wants us to value people the way He does.
Sets a Higher Standard
Jesus pointed out that murder is not
just committing the physical act, but is only a byproduct of the resentment we
have already harbored in our hearts (Matthew 5:21-22). He says that anyone who
gets angry and calls his brother “Raca” (calling him empty-headed and looking
down on him) or “you fool” (judging him as morally bankrupt) is guilty of
Jesus goes beyond superficial
righteousness (Matthew 5:20). He desires not just external obedience, but real
transformation that begins with the heart. He tells us to obey not out of
legalism, but love. The law sets limits, but love always goes beyond what is
expected and even that which seems impossible. Indeed His grace does not lower
His standards, but elevates it.
and Be Reconciled
Relationships are fragile; we often hurt
others or get hurt by them. We are to be wary of unresolved bitterness, which
gives the enemy a foothold (Ephesians 4:26-27) and leads to withdrawal,
resentment, anger, gossip, and other destructive behavior. We are to fix
relationships immediately instead of letting the hurt linger.
In fact, we must settle conflicts even
before we worship (Matthew 5:23-24). Jesus said a person must leave their
offering at the altar and seek reconciliation first, even if that entailed a
two to three-day journey from the temple. God looks at the heart — we must
repent of any ill feelings and fix broken relationships, as far as it is in our
capacity to do so (Romans 12:18, Matthew 18:15–17). Only then can we truly
worship (Mark 11:25).
We are to forgive all people, including
those who have hurt us (Matthew 5:43-44). The kind of love Jesus talked about
is agape, which is not based on feelings, but is an unconditional act of the
will. Jesus never gave up on anyone, even those who seemed the most difficult
to love (Matthew 18:17). Neither should we.
All of us have sinned against God, but
He took the first step and forgave us completely (Romans 5:8). Only when we
have received His forgiveness can we truly forgive others (1 John 4:7-8). We
ought to be perfect as He is perfect, fulfilling the very purpose for which we
were created — to become like Christ and love as He did (Matthew 5:45, 48).