Murder – Identity and the Sixth Commandment

Posted on March 18, 2014 | 8 comments

Cain and Able, Titian, 1542

Cain and Able, Titian, 1542

You shall not murder. – Exodus 20:13

Four words. A command that sets the bare minimum standard for how we are to treat other bearers of the image of the Creator.

You shall not murder.

Murder is not something done in an act of self-defense. Rather, murder is an act born of vengeance, anger, jealousy, fear, and lust.

And as such, it has much to do with identity.

In Matthew 15:19, Jesus says:

For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

It is from a heart that is not in communion with God (see No Other Gods) – meaning an identity that is seeking wholeness on its own terms – that murder originates.

Murder originates in an identity that has put it self in the place of God. Apart from communion with God, such a person does what is right in their own eyes. Determining right and wrong by the values of the false self. Those people who bring value to the false self are right; those that challenge the false self – exposing the shame underneath – are wrong.

Murder originates in an identity that dismisses the inherent value of other image bearers. Apart from communion with God, the worth of people is judged by comparing what they produce, what they consume, how much they have, and how popular they are. There is no such thing as inherent worth as a loved, created being.

Murder originates in an identity that is unable to forgive or experience forgiveness. Idols do not forgive, we can only let them down and try harder to get satisfaction from them. Apart from communion with God, we are responsible for restoring our own identity, building up our own sense of value. Dents and gashes in our sense of significance may be too deep to cover up.

Ultimately, murder originates in our fight to get what we need to support our identity apart from Christ (see Why Do We Adopt an Identity). James 4:2 lays the foundation for murder in our quest to do just this:

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

When we are in Christ, we are immersed in the love of God. It is that love that we reflect to those we come in contact with. Other people are no longer competition for nor needed to support for our identity – those questions of self are securely and definitively answered in Christ.

Love, rather than murder, hate, or anger, is what flows forth from the living waters of the heart in communion with Christ.

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  1. Everyday you hear of more and more murders. Especially those done by our youth, and it’s scary. It’s scary that they don’t see another way to communicate their anger at someone and see the irreparable damage that will be done. Very informative post!

  2. Thanks for sharing on Whatever Wednesday on Thank You Honey! Hope to see you again next week!

  3. this is really, really good. appreciated how you look at where murder – or hateful heart intent – originates. will be thinking much on this throughout the day.

  4. Thanks for linking up at The Four Seasons Blog Hop! Sandra from Scrumptilicious 4 You! We would love to have you come back next week!

  5. Thank you for sharing with us here at “Tell Me a Story.” Indeed the heart is deceitful and utterly wicked and who can know it except God himself. Jesus taught us that emotions and thoughts can be sin even without action. Many years ago, my husband was so angry that he had murder in his heart until he controlled himself. We knew who it was who entered our home while we were at church, helped themselves from the refrigerator, wrapped our new TV in our beautiful bed spred and pranced out the front door with our new TV still on time payments. His cousins did not show themselves again at our door, and the TV probably went for drug money! We had to let the TV go and back to the store for another one and now added on the the payments for both TV’s. Not a happy camper but we got over it.

  6. Have to wonder what’s happening with this world, with all the needless killing going on. Thanks for linking at #openslather 🙂

  7. Great lesson. The problem is that kids and even adults follow and almost worship the wrong people. They love the excess and that creates the hatred and jealously. It’s a sad state of our country and world. Thank you for linking up to Tips and Tricks.

  8. Understanding what murder truly is… besides ending a life violently … can draw people closer to the Lord. Much we need to do to focus in the right direction, turning to Him over and over again. Thank you for sharing.

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