Reading: Exodus 20, 13
Thou shalt not kill!
Reflection: The first part of the Decalogue dealt with matters concerning the relationship between God and man, while the second part deals with the no less important relationship between man and man. For Israel, this part of the Scripture was always more than just law. The Decalogue spoke of absolute and eternal moral principles that every person should cherish in their heart. If it were not so, someone could deeply hate, despise, be angry – and still remain within the acceptable framework of the law, as long as they did not physically endanger the object of their hatred. In the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded us that anger, which would – if there were no social and legal obstacles – result in murder, is equal to murder.
The intent has always played a decisive role in determining the punishment for the offender of an offense or crime (e.g. Book of Numbers, 35, 20-24). God looks deeper into our hearts from where intentions come. Jesus concludes the explanation of God’s imperative “Thou shalt not kill!” by saying, “Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last coin” (Mt 5, 26). The last coin (Greek kodrantes) is 1/64 of a Roman denarius and is the smallest coin in the Roman Empire. You could earn it in a few minutes. We may wonder, why is God so petty? Why does He go into the smallest details? In fact, Jesus wants to tell us that when we break our relationship with others, we also break it with God, and that leads to eternal damnation. Details are very important in such cases.
King David in Psalm 139 glorifies his Creator, God who knows every inch of his being and has no problem with his interest in details. He asks God to search him even more, to penetrate him even deeper, because he senses that the hatred he harbors towards others does not lead to a good place.
May his prayer be ours today.
Prayer: O Lord, should I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise against you? With a deep hatred I hate them, they are my enemies. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Ps 139:21-24.
Translated from the Bosnian language by ChatGPT Feb 13 Version