“You shall not murder.”
Of all the commandments, this one appears to be the easiest to follow and what we would consider the worst of offenses. It is easy to try to compare sins and justify the sins we commit by acknowledging that at least we’re not doing something greater.
God calls for stiff penalties for murderers because man was created in His image. But murder should not be thought of as just the physical taking of someone’s life.
We can kill someone with our words just as we can kill them with our hands. We can kill someone’s reputation through lies or even telling the truth. We are called not just to speak the truth but to do so in love. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 5:21-22.
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brotherwill be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca, is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
Raca is a term of contempt – a person is frustrated with another or even despises them. It is expressing their feelings toward someone. But calling a person a fool is attacking their character and thus killing. Even this is murder. We can murder with our mouths even more easily than our hands.