To Forgive…or to Murder?
When we first read the 5th Commandment here, it seems pretty simple. Don’t murder. Great, finally a Commandment I can say I haven’t broken. Though, I have to admit, there were a few times I came pretty close while driving around town. And then there was that kid who picked on me middle school. Well, and there’s that girl whose always going on about her perfect kid and she has grating voice…
But I haven’t killed anyone. So, I’m still good…or am I?
Jesus talked about this Commandment in the Sermon on the Mount. He said,
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Jesus shows us that the Command not to murder isn’t just about not ending someone’s life, it’s about forgiveness. When someone wrongs you and you hold a grudge, that falls under this Commandment, too. Maybe I’m not doing so well with this one after all. We are called to forgive, just as we have been forgiven in Christ Jesus.
Let’s go one step further, now. Notice how Jesus finishes; not with our forgiving others, but with us reconciling with others for the wrongs WE have done. We are to humble ourselves, confess what we have done, and try to make things right with them.
All this stems from what Christ has done for us. We can forgive because we have been forgiven. We can be wronged and not retaliate because though we have wronged God, He not only didn’t smite us, but came and took our place, dying for us.
I may not have murdered anyone, but I have harbored anger in my heart. Please forgive me for holding grudges. You have forgiven me of so much, help me to extend that forgiveness to others. And when I wrong someone else, give me the strength, courage, and humility to go to that person, confess, and try to make things right.