October 4 – LD 40, Day 4: Murder with the Tongue
Wednesday the 4th of October
in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations
Matthew 5:21-22: “Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
When it comes to a specific point of application, we very conveniently rationalize away the arrow of God as it strikes us in the words "Thou shalt not kill." But we have to face that law honestly as it impinges upon the specific point of our own carnal inclinations! Then we must also realize that the sixth commandment not only forbids the act of murder, but likewise all causes and occasions leading to it.
Here the commandment uncovers every festering sore in our sinful natures. It uncovers such things as dishonoring or hating our neighbour in thoughts, words, and gestures, as well as in deeds. God counts us as having violated this commandment even when we think evil toward the neighbour. The same is true with evil speech. We kill when we speak evil words that hurt the neighbour like daggers. That sin might be most often seen in children. Children speak very freely. Adults usually are more refined in their sinning — more devilish. We usually don't talk to the neighbour's face. We talk behind their backs. But children talk very openly. That is beautiful when they are praising God in their openness. But sometimes they very openly hurt with their speech a classmate or brother or sister. That is what Jesus was talking about in Matt 5, when He said, You want to talk about murder? I tell you, when you call your brother, your classmate, "Raca," — blockhead, idiot, or names like that — you are guilty! That is killing!
And if those charges do not dig deeply enough, our Catechism points to the truth that God abhors not only murder, but the causes thereof, such as envy, hatred, anger, and desire of revenge; and that He counts all these as murder! Oh, how great is our need for Christ!