Among American Gods: You Shall Not Murder


For Meditation

The passages here will help inform our understanding of how the prohibition against murder flowers into a probation against the dehumanization of others. As Andy Crouch says, “Idolatry always leads to injustice.” The New Testament talks about two expressions of this more than any other: anger (murder in your heart) and ethnic division or hostility. Both of these expressions act as if the cross never happened, and assume that the dividing wall of hostility between us remains. It is a vision of life together devoid of the incarnation, cross and resurrection. It is life in the world without reconciliation.

Find as quiet a space as possible. Read over these passages of Scripture twice. Take your time. Allow for 30 seconds of silence between passages in order to process and sit in the text for a few reflective moments. Then ask yourself the following questions:

+ What word or sentence most resonated or stood out to you as you read?
What word or sentence most confused or challenged you as you read?

Take some time to invite the Lord to speak to you, by His Spirit, about the passages you are reading. Invite Him to teach you about who He is and about you He is calling you to be as his child, through these words and phrases. Then take a few minutes to do the examen from a few weeks ago:

When did I cling to and confide in God the most?
+ When did I cling to or confide in God the least?

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Exodus 20:13

You shall not murder.

Matthew 5:21-26

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. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

Ephesians 4:14-18

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.