I have a confession. I break the fifth commandment probably almost every time I get behind the wheel. I’m vile like that. I don’t get in my car intending to murder someone, but man, poor driving really irks me. Someone running a stop light, going too slow, suddenly turning without a blinker, all these things could cause a dangerous accident. And don’t get me started if you do a poor job parking your car. That’s just plain old rude. So do I just straight up kill them? No, but I might as well, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.” Okay, so I’m defiled. I could’ve told you I’m a wretched sinner. What of it? It’s not like I actually killed a dude.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”
Alright, now that puts it in a slightly different light. And that’s where it stings. No, I don’t go run the individual off the road and execute them, but the unnecessary anger that swells up inside me, I might as well have, because that’s just as bad if I actually did it. Why? Because the will and motivation were there. Whether I actually act upon it is completely irrelevant.
I like how, in his small catechism, Martin Luther takes it a step further when he says, “We should fear and love God that we may not hurt nor harm our neighbor in his body, but help and befriend him in every bodily need [in every need and danger of life and body].” So, not only is not being an evil maniac, even if only in thought, enough, but idly not helping one in need would be considered breaking this commandment. Wow. So much is put into perspective.
It really shows us our sin, doesn’t it, and why only through Christ there is salvation.