The sixth commandment is part of the Second Table of the Law. That means it’s a command designed to teach us a specific way to obey the Golden Rule: “do unto others what you would have them do unto you!” It’s a simple, short, and serious command. Exodus 20:13 says, “You shall not murder.”
Pretty much everyone in the world agrees that this is a good command. After all, you can’t love your neighbor and murder them at the same time! There’s not a country in the world that says, “Go ahead and murder each other – it isn’t against the law here!” No, if you get caught taking another person’s life, they’ll throw your backside in prison and throw away the key!
If you asked most people about the sixth commandment, they probably would say, “Of course I’ve obeyed it perfectly – I’ve never murdered anybody!” However, once you hear what Jesus said about the sixth commandment, you’ll understand that everyone, including you and me, is guilty of murder!
In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus explained, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” Did you understand what Jesus is telling us here? If we’ve ever been so angry with someone that our hearts were filled with hatred towards them, Jesus says that we are just as guilty as a murderer! We may not have harmed them with our hands, but we’ve murdered them in our minds with hatred in our hearts. 1 John 3:15 goes on to explain, “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer…” Based on that, every single one of us has broken the sixth commandment! We are all killers in our hearts!
Remember, the last six commandments, including this one, are part of the Second Table of the Law. They are commands that teach us how to love our neighbors. Well, what’s the opposite of love? It’s hate! And hatred in our hearts is the seed that grows into the monster of murder! It’s impossible to love our neighbors if we hatefully slay them with anger in our hearts!