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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

The Fifth Commandment

“You shall not murder." ~ Exodus 20:13

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." ~ Matthew 5:43-44

"We should so fear and love God as not to do our neighbor any bodily harm or injury, but rather help and comfort them in danger and need." ~ Martin Luther

I love Luther's explanation here.

It isn't enough to say "don't kill someone." We aren't mean to hurt physically either.

I'd also add that we can kill with our words as well. Kill spirits. Kill respect. Kill self-esteem. Kill imagination. Kill hope. Kill love.

But what I love most about Luther's explanation is that he tells us what we should do instead. Help and comfort.

This all certainly falls in line with Jesus command to love our enemies. Gives us a starting place in how to do that.

This commandment has always been one that's caused some controversy. How do we rationalize it when it comes to war? How do we love enemies that are seeking to kill or hurt us?

Hopefully by now you see that the commandments aren't as cut and dried as they might seem.

Hopefully by now you see that somewhere along the line we needed someone to become the law for us. Someone to show us how to love, both our neighbors and our enemies alike.

And that someone, from the cross, said about their enemies: "Forgive them. They don't know what they do."

A Prayer by Martin Luther: Dearest God and Lord, strengthen and uphold us in your pure, precious Word through Jesus Christ our Lord, and help us to show and live our thanks with our fruits of faith to your praise and thanks forever. Amen.

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