WHat would happen if the ten commandments (which are Gods lowest standard for us) were to be the back bone of our societies. (and yes, this will be long and processy, please join in if i miss things)
Using the exodus 20 passages. I want to start at verse 13.
(or kill – cause the death of)
So taking the meaning of murder to its basic level of ‘killing’, the stoppage of life in another. Now, you could make it more complicated but discussing the difference between premeditated, self-defence, in-ignorance or what manslaughter actually means… But if God meant the killing of any human being for any reason.
Do not murder.
What comes of the murdered? If one kills my brother, even out of self-defense, I now have no brother. A man who taught me how to think, how to socially engage, how to pick good music from bad music, how to play sports and computer games, who has affirmed and encouraged me to do more things in life than i could have without him. I am now made to grieve. My parents are now made to grieve. His wife would be without her life partner. Other people who are inspired and helped by him, now do not have that man in their life. All the future things he was destined to complete, will now lay incomplete by him. His puzzle pieces get taken off the board and burned.
If left unchecked, I, and possibly others in my household would hold vengeance in my heart. Which may or may not end in someone else’s brother dying. That type of vengeful unforgiveness can run rampant until two families collide in large scale warfare. I have seen with my own eyes the unforgiveness that breaks out into street fights, that took over a whole village. It runs so deeply and for so long, that no one even knows what started it.
Murder also shows signs of disrespect so large that it devalues fellow human beings. Making ourselves almost Gods. If you decide that you know who is valuable, who is not, and who is so unvaluable that they need to be taken off this world, we put ourselves in the judgement seat. Premeditated murder shows signs of deep thought. Not maybe for that specific killing, but at some stage a persons thinking has become so dark, such a seed of hatred or vengeance or devalue, that the seed planted explodes into a luscious death-fueling, blossoming tree.
What does murder do to a society? I’ve lived in suburbs that the surrounding towns and cities point at and call ‘pov’ ‘dangerous’ or some have just laughed at the suburbs name. people fear walking down the street after dark. Some even avoid certain houses, certain parts of the suburb because they don’t trust the people who live there, they don’t feel safe because of former violent experience or wives tales that have taken over imaginations so fully that it was like you were there.
Murder in a society holds out the possibility that we too, will find ourselves at the pointy end of manslaughter. This also promotes large amounts of fear and terror. Watching the world react to 9/11, we shut our doors, we put large locks on them and got suspicious of anyone with a beard and any type of religious garb, as if every Muslim and buddhist on the planet would begin murdering white people en-mass. Society then goes from being a relatively trusting place, to an over thinking overtly dark in its imagination, being locked into ‘knowing’ that the worst will happen, so to prepare for it.
But what happens when murder ceases to happen? Theres a song by an aussie band called frenzal rhomb entitled ‘Guns don’t kill ducklings, ducklings kill ducklings’ as a play on the old sentiment that guns don’t kill people, people do. As if that excuses gun ownership for defense. But if we all trusted that no one was going to walk into our schools with bags full of bullets and semi automatic weapons, we wouldn’t need to teach our daughters how to shoot. We wouldn’t need the secret family gun cabinet.
But if our next door neighbour has a gun, then we need one just incase. In fact we should get a bigger one then him so that we will win in a gun fight. ALA the nuclear arms race. If India gets four, then we need six, and if Iran has any we need to walk in there and shut that whole situation down, we are the only ones who should have them.
Do not murder calls for an environment where there is no reason to kill, and no way to do so if there is a reason. More an encouragement to make space for forgiveness to be processed.
Another sentiment that has come about in my thinking re: passifism and non violence is, its not just the murdered that is effected by the act. God designed Adam and Eve with no safety switch for a broken heart. We were never designed for our hearts to be destroyed. By romance, by loss, by disappointment or by murdering. I have never killed anyone, but i have had all the other things, and we can react to them with calloused ignorance or with soft hearted security in the father to take care of our hearts. So i imagine, a person who goes through with killing someone else, does quite a number on his heart.
Hearing bits and pieces of war veterans talking about the hell on earth that their experience was. Taking life after life after life. Its murder that we explain away through defence of liberty, but God never designed humans to be warriors. We are designed to be lover/creators in partnership with the lord of heavens armies. Who, it could be argued, only became an army commanded because he had to.
Murder destroys societies in blunt and subtle ways. Because whole societies can take on racial, elitist, economic or religious ideologies that determine some more valuable then others and therefore its almost godly will to murder. But if God breathed life into every human as it was created, we are murdering echoes and mini me’s of God himself. Little despots, little tyrants, who, as history shows over and over again, never do a society any good, because no human is perfect all the time, and absolute power has a strange tendency to destroy the attempted wielder and its constituents.
But to return to the original time of God speaking do not murder. The Israelites had just come out of slavery, where they were definitely seen as less then human, were killed on whims if they weren’t pulling their weight. And if, for 400 years you are shown and told and educated to know that you aren’t worth life. You start believing it. Of yourself, but also others in your community. So when taken out of Egypt on a large walk-about, are they instantly going to rethink their own worth? Are they going to wake up the next morning and never think of taking out the annoying uncle in the next tent?
If societies put in place, such an attitude of ‘Murder is not right, do not do it’ that peoples thinking changed, society would change.
Education would change, streets would change. Media would change.
If a society took on this mantle, we would stop designing games that trained children to shoot to kill. How many of our kids spend six or more hours a day online, with other humans, running around map getting good at shooting each other. Or getting immersed in worlds of magic and quests to kill this, or collect that. It arguably and subtly changes how our children think. How could it not? The amount of youtube clips now that celebrate street and school yard fights, or people getting hit in the crotch with baseball bats. Pain and violence has become such an acceptable entertainment that I often over hear parents letting kids watch movies as long as they don’t have sex or swearing. But brutal violence is fine? Which takes one into other realms of domestic violence and even competitive sports that have a large fan base only because it is violent and often one opponent will ‘kill’ the other.
And yes, some will stand and think ‘well without violence life gets incredibly boring because everyone will be nice to each other’ and i wonder how much of that God dreamed of. Did God say do not murder because he realised that we would enjoy it and he wanted us to have less fun?
Because society is stronger, and more heavenly when we stop killing each other.