It’s the law! It’s God’s law and it’s man’s law: “You shall not commit murder and you shall not steal!”

Every major religion and every civilized society has these same laws in place. As citizens of God’s Kingdom, and as citizens of the united States, we are expected to obey these laws; we are to be law-abiding citizens!

The 6th Commands reads like this: “If you love Me (God) you will not commit murder!” There are two words used in the old Testament for “killing”: RATSAKH means “to put a person to death.”

In ancient times, God allowed persons to be put to death by a variety of reasons — 1) If they murdered someone; 2) If they committed adultery, or 3) If they were engaged in a just, or justified, war – they were allowed to kill their enemies.

The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Christians in Rome, states that the State has the right to put a person to death for murdering someone. Ratsakh also refers to killing another person unintentionally or by accident. This is not the word used in the Sixth Commandment; the word used is PHONEUO.

Phoneuo refers to murder, the unjustified and unlawful killing of another human being. Murder, therefore, is against the law! That’s because God created we humans in His likeness and blew His holy breath into us and caused us to come alive; also, the New Testament declares that our human bodies are the “temple-of-God.”

To intentionally and unlawfully kill another human being is to break God’s law and to violate God’s holy presence in us.

Every murder begins in the mind and heart! Jesus emphasized that “Murder is any thought or deep-seated hatred against another person.”

John, in his Gospel, states: “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer.” Therefore, every murder has to be pre-meditated, pre-planned, though-out before the deed is committed. Do not murder, or even think it! It’s against the law!

Stealing is also against God’s law, and against the laws of our nation. Stealing = taking something that belongs to another person, without their consent or permission:

(A) People will steal our possessions, things that have value & meaning to us.

(B) They will steal our very identities; people will use our stolen credit cards, or they will hack into our computers — and they will use our “identity” to commit other crimes. In the prosed they will ruin our credit rating and will steal our good reputation.

(C) People will steal our honesty and integrity; gossip or unverifiable rumors can ruin one’s life.

(D) They will steal our self- esteem: “You’re worthless.” “You’ll never amount to anything.”

(E) People will steal our desire to learn; “Don’t ask so many questions”; “You’ll pass this Course if you answer the test questions the way I want them.”

(F) They will steal the truth from us. Too many are replacing the truth with lies; hiding the truth from us; covering up their lies and deceit.

(G) People are stealing our freedom. When I was in college, we could ask questions in any of our classes; we could disagree with the professor — and if we could defend our position, we’d get a passing grade.

In the “bull sessions” between classes, we would consider a topic, we’d freely state our ideas and opinions, we would fervently debate the subject, and we would argue with each other — we had the freedom to do that! Amazingly, no one got angry, no one was offended, and we remained friends.

We cannot do that in today’s world! Our freedom has been taken away by people who are intolerant and are too-easily offended. Do not steal! It’s the law!

(Dr. Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist pastor in Missouri.)

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