Thou shall not kill or is it thou shall not murder?
Here we are again…another seemingly simple Commandment Moses presented to the exiles from Egypt. Remember, metaphysically, Egypt signifies the darkness of ignorance, of sense or material consciousness. So, we are leaving our lack of understanding of the material world and going into a journey of our soul, looking for our Truth.
And as we are on this journey, we have been tasked with learning how to honor our Creator, (the first four Commandments) and are now learning how to get along with each other.
This Commandment, thou shall not kill, was actually misinterpreted originally.
We now know that it should have been interpreted as murder. You ask, what is the difference? Just think about it.
Are there not times when killing has been acceptable in most cultures? Self defense….unfortunately, wars….in some societies, euthanasia. And for those of us who enjoy a good steak, animals who help to sustain us.
So, the difference between killing and murder is intent.
There’s that consciousness thing again!
Simply stated, no one has the right to deprive anyone of life. The shedding of innocent blood is viewed as a direct offense against God.
So, let’s look at what our experts say about this Commandment.
Neal Donald Walsh starts out reminding us that you know you have found God when you observe that you will not murder (that is, willfully kill, without cause). For while you will understand that you cannot end another’s life in any event (all life is eternal), you will not choose to terminate any particular incarnation, nor change any life energy from one form to another, without the most sacred justification. Your new reverence for life will cause you to honor all life forms-including plants, trees, and animals – and to impact them only when it is for the highest good.
Many insights here… Highest good means good for everyone concerned. That is one way to discern if something is “God’s will”.
I love how he says, “you will know you have found God”…have you noticed that? He says it in every Commitment.
In other words, when we have finally realized the connection we have with the God of our understanding; with our Higher Self…when we finally connect with that sacred place within, we will have to commit to these laws set forth so many years ago.
We’ll have to.
Breathe that in.
This is Principle #3 God is present in all people as our divine essence, our Christ nature.
Have you noticed, too, the changes in yourself as you’ve journeyed along this soul path? As you’ve come to realize this Principle as well as the others? Wonderous changes, aren’t they?
That leads us to Leonard Felding’s Challenge – he says this Commandment means what you can do to prevent the crushing of a person’s spirit.
He reminds us that a person’s life is one’s most precious earthly possession and one’s right to enjoy life must be protected from idle irresponsibility which would deprive a person of it.
This challenge points to Principle #5: Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.
Put feet to our knowledge, our new understanding, our prayers.
And not do it irresponsibility.
Biblical scholars have stated that even when someone claims there is an overriding religious, political, or psychological reason to murder someone, the 10 commandments point out that the person is wrong.
What someone CLAIMS as their right isn’t necessarily so…
We are Divine, made in the image & likeness….we are not to destroy the Divine Spirit that is a part of every human being. That includes murder as well as suicide.
But this is also interpreted to mean don’t break, bruise, or crush, which can mean to not break the will of someone or crush his/her spirit. Do not assault someone physically or verbally and to not humiliate someone.
The Talmud warns about humiliating or using sneering words, which is equal to murder. That’s killing someone’s spirit.
The core issue is how to make sure we don’t shatter the Divine essence that is within each human being, including ourselves.
We need to live together as one family & we need to watch out for each other
Felding gives us 3 ways to help us reduce the likelihood of harming or cruelty to someone
1 find a way to resolve & heal the painful hurts you might be carrying inside from your past that can have lingering side effects. Could be mistreatment received as a child; witnessing one’s parents physical or emotional abuse of each other, cruel teasing from classmates or peers, a physically violent lover or spouse, painful verbal abuse from parents, siblings, lovers or bosses, as well as traumas like sexual violence, muggings & other violent crimes.
Many of us carry these wounds deep inside…trauma not processed can lead to: addictions to food, drugs or alcohol; a sense of holding back or being unable to relax in certain situations; a deadening of your spirit so that you can’t feel joy, experience intimacy, or cry appropriate tears; skin problems, stomach irritations, stress related symptoms; tendency to want to punish or put up a wall toward your family or co-workers.
Quite a list!
2 Look carefully to see if there is someone in your personal life right now whose spirit sometimes gets crushed inadvertently by something that you do or say. “The Ten Challenges”, Pg. 135
3 The most common mistake that can inadvertently injure or frustrate is not truly listening…interrupting to give advice when what they want is support and for us to listen can leave them feeling interrupted, patronized and not fully understood.
4 Think of small & large things you can do in your own way to protect others….for example – volunteering with domestic violence or child abuse prevention programs, donate time, talent and/or treasure to the programs that resonate with you; in your daily life, treat people in ways that strengthen their spirit & yours.
For once the Challenge and Sr. Joan are in close proximity to each other in their thoughts.
Joan Chittister – calls this The Law of Life
She is definitely against war…Surprisingly, 60% of war deaths happened in the 20th century…not in ancient civilizations by, supposedly uncivilized peoples.
What use to be a personal thing has become global – power now has the capacity to move political, military, economic & social systems.
We are experiencing this today, are we not?
She calls us to choose carefully the kinds of power we opt to exercise.
Consider your personal power, whatever it is. What are you doing with it?
The Talmud teaches “To save one life is to save the world.” Those who value life in small ways, the teaching implies, create a culture of life around them that calls the rest of us to examine our attitudes about life.
She tells us:
“If life is to be affirmed, protected, honored, & sustained, as the Parliament of the World Religions states, then failing to support families & children with health care, housing, food, education, day care, and just wages is as least as much a sin against life as war…”
This commandment warns us against our willingness to bring things down in the name of righteousness.
We, as a society nationally and internationally, make up reasons all the time to kill – to enforce authority, for political reasons, to satisfy other segments of society by stripping lands, raping forests, soiling the air.
We are not actively working to sustain all life, anywhere, we are actually undermining life everywhere.
So, we see, this Commandment is really challenging us: how we are going to interpret it. Shall it be simple, thou shall not kill or murder?
What it may really means depends on what we really think Jesus was about. Recall, Matthew 5:17-20 17″Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Jesus helped us to see that it is not behavior alone but consciousness that is at issue with the commandments. He was and is all about peace and love. And if that is our guidance from our way-shower, then killing for any reason may not be the “Christian” thing to do.
Again, we all will have to look at our personal power and discern how we wish to use it.
Humans mostly look at outward appearance, but God looks at the heart! One person has hatred in their heart, but due to social pressures and self-control does not give it outward expression. Another person has the same hatred in their heart but lacks the restraints of the first person. That inner hatred breaks out in murder. To us there is an enormous difference. To God, who looks on the heart, they are the same. Both people need that total inward change of heart that can only come through a change in thought and in their heart; what some would call repentance.
You shall not kill should become you shall enable life. From God’s perspective, Spiritual life is more important than natural life.