You must not murder.
Exodus 20:13 NLT
It sounds pretty straightforward not to murder. I am unlikely to execute so violent an act against another. Even in anger, I do not feel constrained to strike another. My violence is verbal and that’s the problem. How often have my words contributed to the destruction of another’s reputation? The saying goes, “No smoke without fire” and when my gossip carries only a smidgeon of truth buried among piles of fanciful conjectures, evidence of my own fracture, I make it difficult for the one I accuse to maintain their reputation.
Murder is not limited to the destruction of another’s mortal life. After all, life is expressed in all manner of ways, and if I make an assault upon reputation, manipulate or bully another, I am in the process of killing the God-ordained image seeded within them. In other words, we are to hold one another in high esteem. To think ill of another is part and parcel of our humanity. God invites us to interrupt such a thought pattern and remind ourselves that we are nothing without God. As God accepts us, he promises to make someone of us.
Learning to see others through the eyes of God is a challenge presented to each one of us. Out of shame we may well point the finger at others. This, we hope, directs another’s gaze away from us while justifying to ourselves that we’re not “that bad”! In accepting our fracture and God’s perspective we are able not just to receive God’s grace but become a source of hope and encouragement to others.
God knows that acceptance of others and mutual encouragement leads to full and complete lives. In a day of radical social, cultural and economic change, only God’s framework for living offers hope for our future together. The danger is that insecurity itself breeds contempt, anger and the need for a scapegoat. Only in Christ are we brought together since we are accepted for who we are and as we are and the cross has torn down all walls.
Are there are any places where hate has taken root in your heart?
God of all things, there can often seem to be so much violence and hate in this world. Lord, bring your peace.