Heidelbergian Children's Catechism (age 8- 10 years)
Lord's Day 40
The sixth commandment says that you shall not murder. You may think to yourself, “Of course you would not murder! Why is this commandment read aloud in church every Sunday?” Because it is possible that it may happen once in a while. With a murderer it can happen like this: he meets someone that he dislikes. After a while, he cannot stand him anymore. He begins to hate him. Then he becomes mad at him for saying something about his wife. His anger flares up and he hits the man hard. And that’s how he became a murderer. At times all of us become jealous and angry without good reason. Imagine someone in school saying something nasty about you. Would you not want to hit or kick that person? You won’t do it, but you look for a way to get back at them. You decide that you will never play with them again, and you may think up a nasty rumour and spread it around school. You hope that others will hate that person too. But in church you are told that “You shall not murder,” By this command, God means that even the beginning of murder, namely anger, is wrong. Do away with your anger. Do not think evil about someone else. Do not be jealous. Stop hating! The Lord Jesus called all these evil and nasty feelings murder. Look it up in Matthew 5. That is one part of this commandment. Now the other part. When your dad says that he is not going out tonight, you know what that means. He doesn’t even need to say that he will be staying at home. In the same way, the Lord says only half of what He means. He says that we shall not murder. You know the rest, even when the Lord does not say it. Don’t be angry; so, be nice. Don’t be jealous; so, be happy when others are doing well. Don’t hate someone; that means, Iike them. Don’t tell a bad story about someone; think of something positive. In short, love your neighbour as yourself. We may be thankful that our country has policemen and judges, because evil things do happen. These people have to catch murderers and punish them. Do you know that there is something else you should not do? You should not act dangerously, so that you risk having an accident. You should be careful with the Iife the Lord has given you. For example, we know that smoking is very bad for your health. You can ask any doctor. Therefore, I want to ask you: does God approve of smoking?