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Pastor Peter Tanchi   /   Sep 27, 2015

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.

Jesus 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 murder.

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.

Repent 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).

Love like Jesus 

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).

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