← back to list

Jul 16, 2017

Sixth Commandment: Life is Sacred

Sixth Commandment: Life is Sacred

Passage: Exodus 20:13

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Love God/Love Neighbor: The Ten Commandments

Category: Peace, Love, life

Keywords: death, murder, ten commandments, sixth commandment

Human life is sacred and all people matter to God.


“You shall not murder.”
— Exodus 20:13 (NIV)

Well, of course. 

This Scripture is so obvious, so intuitive, so to-the-point. It begs the question, “what else?” 

Jesus, of course, gives us the “what else” in the Sermon on the Mount: 

"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.” (Matthew 5:21-22; “raca” means “empty-headed,” an Aramaic swear word)

Now I wish I’d left it with “You shall not murder.” That seems pretty easy. But not even being angry with a brother or sister? If I say “you fool,” I’m in danger of the fire of hell? Should I stay off Route 50 and I-66 just to be safe?  

What I hear from Jesus is that I need to take my relationships more seriously. “You shall not murder” isn’t actually a high bar to clear in my relationships. But treating others with respect, seeing them as people and not objects — yes, as parents who had to get their kids out the door and now are stuck in the same traffic I’m in, as stressed spouses late to a doctor’s appointment — that’s what we’re called to, to live out the community that Jesus points to later in Matthew when He says to love our neighbor as ourselves. 

And I hear this: we are all God’s creation. Each of us is made in the image and likeness of the One who is worthy of our worship. We are to take that very seriously, both in preserving life and in nurturing and respecting it as well.


Heavenly, gracious Father, we thank You for Your Word, for Your guidance, and indeed for life itself. We know that we owe everything to You, that each life is precious and an occasion to give You thanks. By the teachings of Your Son, we know that we are to respect each person, whether a loved one or a stranger. Strengthen us to live according to this Word, to offer the respect due to each of Your people. In Your Son Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Written by Jon McHenry. Jon leads our devotional team, is a council member, worship speaker and part of the men’s ministry at Arcola Church. He is a devoted husband and father.