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The Sixth Commandment

Exodus 20:13
“You shall not murder.“

Of all of the Ten Commandments, the sixth is the easiest to obey. Have you killed anyone today? Well, there you go. You have succeeded.

“Not so fast”, said Jesus. Obeying the letter of the law is one thing, but what about obeying the heart of the law? Let me explain.

When Jesus began teaching around the countryside, the religious leaders noticed that His teaching was different than theirs. He had a new view of God and the law. In fact, they even accused Jesus of rejecting the law. Jesus replied by saying:

Matthew 5:17
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”

We know that we are supposed to obey the law, but how do you “fulfill” it? What He was saying is that obeying the law takes more than just doing what the law says. You see, the law was never meant to just produce a behavior. The real goal is a changed heart.

Jesus knew that there were people who could find all sorts of ways to obey the laws but still be miserable on the inside. So, to Jesus, the sixth commandment meant more than just not killing someone. To Jesus, you could commit murder in your heart just by hating someone or being angry with them.

Jesus came to teach us a new way to relate to God. He taught about faith and love while the leaders were teaching legalistic obedience out of fear. To Jesus the sixth commandment wasn’t just about behavior. It was about having a heart that loves others and pleases God.

So, have you obeyed the sixth commandment today? Or, better yet, have you fulfilled it? You might want to get started on that. I would suggest looking at that one person who you have the hardest time with and praying for them today. That’s what pleases God.

Matthew 5:44-45
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”

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