Six

If we came with a warning label, I wonder what it would say? What horrific harm are we capable of inflicting on others? When God called Moses to the mountain top and gave him the 10 Commandments to guide the people, he did so because he knew them (and he knew what they were capable of).

You would think "do not murder" would be a given in any society, but apparently we needed to be reminded of the sacred nature of life. I was curious what people thought about the sixth commandment, so I went to the fountain of all wisdom and knowledge to seek answers: Facebook (and people had a lot to share on the matter).

I also called a Rabbi friend to get a Hebrew perspective on it, and he told me this: "Life is the highest aim of Torah." He went on to say how, from a Jewish perspective, to destroy human life is to deface the image of God. Beautiful stuff. He had me hooked, so I dug a little deeper and also found that Jewish civil and ceremonial law also considered shaming another person publicly is like murder and how character assassination is a great evil.

And that's exactly where Jesus went with this in Matthew 5:21-24 in his great sermon. According to Jesus, I am capable of murder. So, seeing life through the eyes of Jesus, here's what I think this sixth commandment means for us:

1] To love God and love others means to love life - and not just our own! Loving life as Jesus did was self-sacrificial and generous, not self-seeking and self-centered. Jesus poured himself into the lives of others.

2] To love God and love others means to protect life -- and not just our own. We must be exceedingly pro-life (and that ain't just about abortion, folks). We must look out for each other and protect the innocent and vulnerable.

3] To love God and love others means to step out of the tribalism that seeks to diminish the value and worth of those we disagree with. Uh oh. Remember, people, our faith is characterized not by how deeply we love our family and friends but by how deeply we love our enemies.

4] To love God and love others means to uphold the sanctity of life in all its unseen forms. What we say to others matters; we are responsible for the damage we do to others when we diminish the worth of another human being (like when we trash our political enemies -- just sayin'). We are people who must be willing to uphold the sanctity of human life in all its unseen forms. Just because we can't "produce a body" doesn't mean we haven't murdered.

God is a life-giver (and a life-protector). He spun life into existence and breathed his life into us -- and he is redeeming us from how broken it has become.

And he wants us to do the same.