Monday, July 18, 2011
~ "Thou shalt not kill..."
Thou shalt not kill. (Ex 20:13)
Another commandment one would think is rather simple to understand. In the commentaries I read, I get two totally different takes on this: one states that any act of killing (war, hatred, punishment) is against this commandment; one states that necessary war, defense of oneself and magistrate justice are not forbidden. So how do you determine if you are in violation of this commandment? There in lies the challenge.
We will start out small - don't kill anyone! If you don't commit the act, you are half way there - I say "half way" simply because Jesus tells us that if we harbor hatred and anger towards one another in our heart, we have already committed the act. He tells us also (in Matt 5) that "an eye for an eye" is no longer an acceptable behavior. There was a time when I believed in the electric chair, the gas chamber, lynching and the firing squad. There was also a time when I believe in a woman's right "to choose" when it came to abortion. There was a day (quite recently as a matter of fact) that I rejoiced at the death of a terrorist. There are times when I wish that God would just remove certain people from the planet sooner than later. So what am I guilty of? If I am harboring hatred and anger in my heart, yes, I am guilty of violating this commandment!
If you haven't figured this out by now, there is not one of these ten commandments that we can keep perfectly and at all times. There is always a false bottom to our box of "good". That is why one man came to earth to show us the way and to take on our failures at the cross of Calvary. Only through Him can we be perfect! Only through His shed blood can our pitiful lives be redeemed. It's not what we do...it's what's been done for us!
Turning our lives over to Jesus (who was murdered, i.e. killed for our transgressions) sounds easy enough. In doing so, He asks that we live a life like He did - be kind and loving, obedient to God and willing to do whatever He asks of us. Sometimes it's not easy. But then, the reward for such is greater than anything we can possibly imagine! We must continually ask forgiveness because we will continue to sin - regardless of how diligent and prayerful we are. Don't use your tongue to destroy others, don't kill their spirit, don't drown their attempts at being better people. Forgive them what sins they may or may not have committed against you - for somewhere someone is forgiving you. Walk away from the evil that lurks on your doorstep and lift your hands in praise, not anger. Respect life, it is not yours to take!