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From the Word: 5 …but he held no favor for Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your face downcast? 7 If you behave uprightly, will it not be lifted up? And if you do not do right, sin is lurking at the door, and it desires you. But you must rule over it. 8 Then Cain spoke with Abel, his brother. And when they were in a field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. —Genesis 4:5–8
From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 64
The Fifth Commandment
You shall not kill.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.
Pulling It Together
It is an instinct that goes all the way back to Cain: we imagine that we may solve our personal problems with violence, and if necessary, the final violence of death. We must rule over our nature and the dishonorable and unrighteous acts that seek to oblige the flesh. In the heat of a moment, murder is considered an easy way out. It is not at all easy on the victim, nor is it trouble-free for the conscience. But chiefly, God commands life because life and death are under divine authority.
Prayer: Empower me, Lord, by your Holy Spirit to hold my tongue and my hand from my neighbor unless it be to help and befriend. Amen.
Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.
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Many in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) remember the loyalty, strength, and uniqueness of our Lutheran tradition and the necessity of "Christ Alone." Stand and Confess explores these traditions in light of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.