Of all the commandments,
this one appears to be the easiest to follow and
what we would consider the worst of offenses.
It is easy to try to compare sins and justify
the sins we commit by acknowledging that at
least we're not doing something greater.
God calls for stiff
penalties for murderers because man was created
in His image. But murder should not be
thought of as just the physical taking of
We can kill someone with
our words just as we can kill them with our
hands. We can kill someone's reputation
through lies or even telling the truth. We
are called not just to speak the truth but to do
so in love. Jesus talks about this in
"You have heard that it
was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder,
and anyone who murders will be subject to
judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is
angry with his brother will be
subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to
his brother, 'Raca, is answerable to the
Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will
be in danger of the fire of hell."
Raca is a term of contempt
- a person is frustrated with another or even
despises them. It is expressing their
feelings toward someone. But calling a
person a fool is attacking their character and
thus killing. Even this is murder.
We can murder with our mouths even more easily
than our hands.