The Opposite of Murder

Steven Rodriguez

Read: John 10:7-18

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (v. 10)

Church reformer John Calvin said that every negative commandment has a positive opposite for us to do. If God says, “You shall not,” there’s probably a “You shall” for us to find and do. Most of us have no trouble following the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder” (Exod. 20:13), at least in its most literal meaning. But if God wanted us to do something good instead of murder, what would it be? What is the opposite of murder?

In today’s passage, Jesus contrasts the murderous intentions of the thief with his own life-giving sacrifice. For Jesus, the opposite of murder is laying down your life. In contrast to the thief, Jesus doesn’t just refrain from hurting and killing. He brings life, abundant life. And paradoxically, the way he brings life into a world full of death is by dying. We aren’t Jesus, so we can’t bring life in the same way that he can. But we can offer our lives to others, sharing in Christ’s sufferings, and holding out a hope for new life. For some, this even means dying for their faith. For Christians living in North America, this is not a likely event. But all of us have ways in which we can lay down our lives as a witness to the way that Jesus laid down his life for us. Let’s choose the paths of life. —Steven Rodriguez

Prayer: Good Shepherd, lead me in the opposite direction of hate and murder.