Thou shalt not kill. – Exodus 20:13.
This is God’s Fifth Commandment. But they err greatly who think they have kept this commandment as long as they have not murdered any one, or done their fellow-man any other great hurt or harm in his body.
Anger proceeding from hate, gnashing of the teeth, and abusive, unloving language is murder in the sight of God (Matthew 5:21-22). “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him,” the Spirit of God teaches us (I John 3:15). The civil authorities, according to God’s ordinance, are to punish murderers and evil-doers (Genesis 9:6; Romans 13:4). But we must not harbor thoughts of revenge against those who have harmed us. Wrath and revenge we must leave to the just and holy God. The Holy Ghost says to us through the pen of the Apostle Paul: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath [the wrath of God]; for it is written: Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:19-21).
Where are we most prone to transgress the supreme commandment of love to our neighbor? Over against our enemies and those who do us harm. Hence it is there, too, that we must be most careful to observe its precepts. – We are most miserable sinners. Even though the Spirit of God has implanted in us Christians the seed of all-conquering love of our neighbor, yet the sinful love-of-self still dwells within us, and very frequently shows itself in our lives. “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders” (Matthew 15:19). And how often the thoughts develop into something worse!
If we desire to remain children of God, we must live in daily repentance and pray for the guidance of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Love.
PRAYER – Lord God, dear Heavenly Father, am I not Thy dear child? But I am a very weak and miserable child, easily led into wrong paths and seduced to wickedness. Have patience with me for Jesus’ sake. Forgive me my sin. I pray Thee that, by Thy Holy Ghost, Thou wouldst daily check and change the virulent evil, until in the end Thou wilt deliver me from the body of this death and renew me to blessed perfection. Amen.
In sinful wrath thou shalt not kill
Nor hate nor render ill for ill;
Be patient and of gentle mood,
And to thy foe do thou good.
Have mercy, Lord!
Hymn 287, 6.