Q. 106. Does this commandment refer only to killing?
A. By forbidding murder God teaches us that he hates the root of murder: envy, hatred, anger, vindictiveness. In God’s sight all such are murder.
Q. 107. Is it enough that we don not kill our neighbor in any such way?
A. No. By condemning envy, hatred, and anger God tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to be patient, peace-loving, gentle, merciful, and friendly to them, to protect them from harm as much as we can, and to do good even to our enemies.
To identify emotional impulses with murder is quite dramatic, but it is true. Scientific studies have revealed that the emotions we cultivate actually affect our physical behavior and so we must be sure to dwell on that which is good, holy and pleasing to God instead of that which saps life from others and ourselves. Read 1John 3:15.
The Proverbs are excellent snippets of wisdom about human nature. In today’s proverb we find the comparison between life and death, envy and peace. As people of life, we should seek to grow peaceful relations between people of every background. We have been given a ministry of reconciliation and it will lift us up. Read Proverbs 14:30 and 2Corinthians 5:18.
When we reflect on Jesus’ life and ministry we realize that he is the one who conquered death by rising from the dead. He brought life into the world, a life that exemplified love, patience, gentleness, etc. Since the commandments always have a flip side to them, the opposite of taking life is to bring life. We must be life-givers in our world acting like Christ and living for his kingdom. Read Matthew 7:12, 22:39 and Romans 12:10.
The Beatitudes list out the kind of life God is seeking to cultivate in the world. It is a world of peace, meekness, righteousness, mercy, humility and purity. All of these contribute to the expansion of life and draw out the best in human nature. Let each of us cultivate these kinds of habits and behaviors. Read Matthew 5:3-12.
In our world, even those who are seeking us harm are to be loved and served. That is the Christian way, to cultivate the very character of Christ. That is why the Bible instructs us to return good for evil, to love enemies, to watch out for their property and to make sure that light always triumphs over darkness. Who can you serve today who may not deserve it, but who definitely needs tot see the love of Christ in action? Read Exodus 23:4-5 and Proverbs 25:21-22.
Christ is our ultimate example. He was victorious over the evil and the sin of this world by loving sinners and laying down his life. This cruciform ministry transformed history and opened up the kingdom of heaven in the present. Let us never forget to respond to God in loving service to all we meet. Read John 15:13.