Justice-Seeking: 6th Commandment. What does murder mean?
Saying the memory verse together at suppertime will imprint it on the hearts of your children forever.
You shall not commit murder.
The Ten Commandments are divided into two parts. The first part tells us how to relate to God (Commandments 1-4), and the second part tells us how to relate to others (Commandments 5-10). When Jesus was asked what commandment was the greatest he answered – Love God and love your neighbor. This reflects that same division of the Ten Commandments (Matthew 22: 36-39).
This episode deals with the sixth commandment—Do not commit murder. There is a difference between killing and murder. The original languages of the Bible use different Hebrew and Greek words for “kill.” The ones used here (and in Matthew 5: 21) specifically mean murder, which usually refers to a premeditated and deliberate act. The laws of the Old Testament differentiate between murder and manslaughter (accidental killing). Those who committed manslaughter could go to cities of refuge to protect themselves from blood revenge. This commandment is prohibiting murder.
Because we see and hear about so much murder and violence in our newspapers (wars, starvation, disasters), practices (abortion, euthanasia) and entertainment (movies, television, video games) we have become calloused to the value of human life. This commandment reminds us again that life is a gift of God not to be trifled with by humans who have no claim to rights over life and death.
JUST THE FACTS
How well did you listen to the story?
Q. Whose murder do Liz and Lucille investigate?
Q. How did Morrie help Granny in her garden?
A. Morrie helped Granny apply bug poison for the bugs that were harming her garden.
Q. What were Skink and his friends doing to the ants on the sidewalk?
A. They were using a magnifying glass to murder the ants.
Q. What rumor does Liz spread about Skink?
A. That Skink sleeps with a pink teddy bear.
Q. Why did Skink have a teddy bear in his room?
A. He bought it to give to a little girl in Clawberg.
This question is meant to help the children develop a biblical understanding of God, who He is and what He does. The "answer" is not meant for parents to read to their children. Rather its purpose is to assist parents in guiding the conversation to this biblical understanding. We encourage you to use an open Bible in this conversation, building biblical literacy and well as a biblical theology.
Why do you think that God says we must not commit murder?
The Bible teaches us that God is the one who gives us life, and the one who takes away life (Job 1:21). When we commit murder, we are acting like we are God. We are acting as if we know better than God about the length and purpose of another person’s life. Killing and murder are serious subjects. Life is a precious gift from God. That’s why in Matthew 5:22, Jesus warned us against even getting angry at each other—because that anger left unchecked can lead to murder. In fact, Jesus said that people who get angry are in danger of the same judgment as people who murder.
Do you agree that it is possible to commit murder by gossiping about someone, or treating someone with contempt? Why or why not?
To say that gossip can be murder is a powerful statement. Yet that is what Jesus says in Matthew 5: 21-26 where he expands on the command, “Do not commit murder.” Here he includes treating someone with contempt or harboring anger and a lack of forgiveness. When we do something like gossip about someone we can kill something in that person—their confidence, their sense of self-esteem, their reputation. This kind of murder can damage a person, even change the course of their lives. God does not take this lightly. (See James 3: 5-12.)