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Thou shalt not kill: Reconciling the Mature Christian way


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This is the second time that the Lord has brought this matter to my mind in such a vivid way. During one of my classes this week, we were discussing the implications of a man being made in the image of God. How this fact separates man from animals. We agreed that there are many things that man share with animals, but the Image of God in man puts man in a separate category.

One Bible text that makes this clear is, Genesis 9:6—"Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.” In other words, there is a special value on the life of man that is not placed on any other creatures and what separates man from all other creatures, is that he was made in the image of God.

This principle applies, even though man is in a fallen position. Hence the command, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:6).

Then, the thought came to me “that killing means more than just taking a knife or gun to kill someone.” reflected on the teachings of Jesus regarding the command that says, “thou shalt not kill”. Jesus says, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:21–22, ASV

In this commandment, Jesus shows the value of human life and the importance of maintaining a high regard for each other.  The Pharisees thought that they could condemn the murderer, but, according to Ellen G. White, they cherished bitterness and hatred for the Romans; their oppressors.”

Jesus made it clear that murder begins with having scant regard for the life of another—it starts with being angry at a brother; looking ‘down’ on him/her.

Therefore, any thoughts, words or feelings about others that lessens their value in our eyes puts us in a position of being guilty of murder, for it is these thoughts that prepares the way for murder.

This is what happened to Cain. He became envious and angry with Abel. God attempted to help him to put away the anger, but he did not. He continued to cherish these thoughts until it led to murder (1 John 3:12, 15).

If we are willing to acknowledge it, whenever we cherish angry feelings towards anyone, we are tempted to respond with physical violence, which is often expressed through gossiping and evil speaking.

That is the question the Holy Spirit asked me and the one I would like to ask you also, “Do you have anyone whose value has been reduced in your mind due to a broken relationship?”

That is why, in explaining the principle, Jesus moved to the second phase of our duty. It is not only to avoid doing evil; we must also be proactive to overcome all broken relationships where possible.

Jesus says, “Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23, 24, NIV).

The idea is reconciliation. Jesus is saying, we should, as far as possible, remove from us any reason to cherish feelings of anger or for someone to cherish feelings of anger towards us.

Therefore, our duty to the 6th commandment is not only to avoid killing, but we also must reconcile our differences; to make up; to stop keeping malice.

“When one who professes to serve God wrongs or injures a brother, he misrepresents the character of God to that brother, and the wrong must be confessed, he must acknowledge it to be sin, to be in harmony with God. Our brother may have done us a greater wrong than we have done him, but this does not lessen our responsibility. If when we come before God, we remember that another has aught against us, we are to leave our gift of prayer, of thanksgiving, of freewill offering, and go to the brother with whom we are at variance, and in humility confess our sin and ask to be forgiven.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 58

God wants us to be at peace with each other. He wants us to live in love and unity. The blood of Jesus has removed every excuse for being at variance with each other.

According to, E.G. White, “The spirit of hatred and revenge originated with Satan, and it led him to put to death the Son of God. Whoever cherishes malice or unkindness is cherishing the same spirit, and its fruit will be unto death. In the revengeful thought, the evil deed lies enfolded, as the plant in the seed. ‘Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.’ 1 John 3:15”.

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