Exodus 20: 13
“Thou shalt not kill.”
The Sixth Commandment
Stated in a positive way, this command might say, “Respect Life!”
Is it necessary sometimes to kill? Yes!
A cockroach invaded my bathroom the other day. In Florida that is not a once-in-a-lifetime event.
I do not choose to capture the pests for later release outside.
The swatter swatted!
Did I break the commandment?
All life is from God.
That is not to be taken casually.
But we must acknowledge that sin has created changes in life forms – and some of those changes are destructive.
I do not seek out colonies of roaches that are living in the wild under a palmetto. They are safe from my swatter.
I try to limit the invitation that roaches may perceive by placing a chemical barrier around the perimeter of my house and property.
Signs that bugs in general are not welcome residents.
Jesus fielded a trick question on this command in Matthew 5: 21-30 (see also in 1 John 3: 15).
A paraphrase of God’s principle says “Hate is Murder.”
Additionally, Jesus said - Neglect of your brother is murder.
Withholding love, affection, care, guidance – these are forms of neglect.
Treating others with disrespect and indifference must also be included.
Hate and indifference are emotions that grow in me when I feel superior to others.
A superiority complex imposes a judgement of inferiority on others.
Lucifer’s original sin stemmed from a superiority complex.
He believed himself superior to God.
He refused to accept the Creator – creature paradigm.
He chose not to acknowledge that Life comes only from God.
If I feel it is acceptable for me to take life away, I am placing myself in a position superior to God. Setting myself up as worthy to decide who and what deserves life.
Which takes us to Commandment 1 – No other gods.
‘Self as god’ breaks the very first tenet of God’s Law.
In addition, for those of us who profess to be Christians, a disrespect for life puts us in violation of Commandment 3. Professing to be Christ-like but living unlike Him takes His Name in vain.
It’s easy to see why Jesus stated that a person guilty of breaking one commandment is guilty of breaking them all.
The common translation in Matthew 5 says, “angry without a cause.”
There are some causes that should make us angry, just as they did Jesus:
-Disdain for the poor and the sick;
-Disrespect for the church and its services;
-Misrepresentation of Who and What God is (by actions and lives of His followers).
Such anger will result in efforts to correct the wrong.
It does not strike out at people or animals. Consider Balaam’s reproof.
I believe that God created special categories of animals that are wired to be pets, to live among humans. (You don’t have to agree with me on that.)
It is my observation that most humans can develop a love for a dog or a cat.
Our care for our pets (and even other peoples’ pets) reveals the depth of our understanding of the command to Respect Life.
My wife is a perpetual squirrel-watcher as we ride around in the car. Any movements indicating that a wild animal might be heading to cross the road in front of us – she demands, “Watch out for that squirrel!”
She has raised my awareness of the value of life in the wild.
Tenderness of affection toward the wild animals will make us more aware of Who God is and What He is like.
Christians should create a better life here on this earth, for ourselves, others, and the natural world.
It is also our privilege to make Heaven more attractive – and more available – to others.
We are to be a conduit of life.
Receiving the Good Life from God and spreading it around to family, friends, strangers, pets, and Nature.
Be a conduit.
Maybe “Treasure Life!” is a better interpretation.
Comments and questions are welcome.