The sixth commandment is hardly controversial. Can anyone really argue with a prohibition against murder? It’s a short commandment. In the original Hebrew, it’s just “Don’t Kill.” That’s it. No explanations. No further promises or rewards or punishments. The command stands by itself.Our society in many ways is becoming increasingly violent. School shootings. College shootings. We hear stories on the news about “road rage,” people getting so upset over a traffic jam or the way someone’s driving that they’ll bludgeon someone else to death. Little league parents conspiring to kill the umpire.
On top of all this, our media intake is more violent. Many of the most popular shows on television are violent. How many torture scenes are there on 24? Or how many people have been killed violently on Lost? And the problem is… it’s not just mature adults watching a lot of these shows. According to the American Psychological Association, by the time the average child finishes elementary school, he or she will have watched eight thousand televised murders and a hundred thousand acts of on-screen violence.
No, this commandment is not going away. We need to be reminded of the prohibition against murder. And we need to see where murder starts and how it can be stopped. But before we go any further, we need to see what this commandment means.