May 10 I Friday
2 Kings 10-12
“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands.” —1 John 5:2
The sixth commandment tells us, “You shall not murder,” while the King James Version translates that same verse as, “Thou shalt not kill.” Killing and murder are two very different things: all murder is killing but not all killing is murder. God gives instructions in Exodus 21:14 to put to death anyone who schemes and deliberately kills another man. In other words, God’s prohibition is not on killing; it is specific to murder—a conscious choice to kill a person.
On the opposite side of murder is the sanctity and value of human life. Permeating the Ten Commandments is a sense of dignity, respect and value given to human life. Nothing is more valuable in all creation than human life and, therefore, nothing is as important in all of life than how we treat our fellow human beings.
The New Testament makes clear that our attitude to human beings is the best test and measurement of our real attitude towards God. Jesus says in Luke 10:27 that the greatest command is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” He does not end His command there but continues, “and love your neighbour as yourself.” The second is a consequence of the first, where the more we know and love God, the more we will desire to be what God has created us to be, and the more value we will place on human life and human beings. As John writes, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar” (1 John 4:20). While we can say, “I love God” and even convince ourselves that we love God, John warns us not to take seriously anyone who says, “I love God” if they do not love their fellow human beings. Our love for God is expressed in our love for others.
This is why John draws the close connection between hate and murder: “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer” (1 John 3:15). But when Christ places His spirit of love and forgiveness in our hearts, we honour Him with our actions by showing that love to others in dependence on Him. Since our God has placed such a high value on every human being, we need to learn to love others as a reflection of our love towards God.
Prayer: Dear God, I love You and want to honour You with my actions. Help me to love those around me, even the ones that are difficult for me to love. Thank You, Lord.