At Least I AM not a Murderer!

AT LEAST I’M NOT A MURDERER

Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder.

Many people can quote this commandment without any conviction because they think it is one commandment they have obeyed. They will cringe with guilt over the other nine commandments and breathe a sigh of relief by thinking, “At least, I’m not a murderer.”

There are three questions we need to ask in relation to this commandment. First, “Why is murder wrong?” second, “What exactly is condemned?” and then, “Am I a murderer?”

WHY IS MURDER WRONG?

The answer may seem obvious to us, but murder is committed every day in some fashion. We are entertained by simulations of murder in video games, movies, and other media. As a result, we are becoming conditioned to approving murder. Anyone committing murder once received the death penalty; now, they get parole after a few years in prison.

Murder is not only a physical issue, but a spiritual one, too. Breaking this commandment is not only a direct act of violence against humanity, it is a direct attack against the image and likeness of God in which the human race is created.

Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

That is why it is very important for us to translate this commandment carefully. Some versions of the Bible use the phrase, “Thou shall not kill.” Therefore, some people believe we must not kill any living thing, including plant or animal. This commandment cannot be used to support this belief. The commandment is only concerned with human life. God instructed mankind about which plants and animals to kill and eat. God made mankind, placed him in His Creation to rule (manage) it and use it for his sustenance.

Some individuals and organizations are against managing the earth for human benefits. Their argument is that the world is vastly over-populated by humans to the detriment of other forms of life. They even go so far to say that we need to take immediate action to reduce the level of the human population on the earth, because the current number of humans is not sustainable. To save other life forms on the earth, abortion and euthanasia of humans are encouraged. Disease pandemics, such as the Corona virus, are viewed as positive things to reduce human populations (as long as they don’t catch it).

De-humanizing or devaluing part of the population is a philosophy that sheds a whole new light on the motivation of such organizations whose view of life comes from evolution. If man was not created by God, but evolved with all other life forms, then man is not sacred nor superior to plants and animals. If human life is not sacred, it is easier to kill a baby, a deformed body, the sick, the old, or an unconscious person. If there is no God, then we can decide who lives and how long they can live. Such people devote their time and money to saving a whale or a tree, and scorn anyone trying to save a child in the womb. To them, that child is less important and would increase the population of a group they consider less human than themselves.

The Nazi’s had the same philosophy, that only the “superior” among us should live. The rest of us were a lower life form, like a rat or pig. Therefore, these “lower humans” were considered expendable like an animal and it was not a crime to kill them. To rid the earth of such “lower life forms” would benefit society and conserve the world’s resources.

Today’s radical Islamists have the same view of all non-Muslims. We are pigs, commanded by the Koran to be killed to cleanse the world for Allah.

Our American society is messed up today because we have considered all of God’s commandments irrelevant. We no longer teach them in our homes or schools. We are taught human life evolved with other life forms. Therefore, humanity is not sacred and not worthy of prolonging. Consequently, abortion and euthanasia are approved, and infanticide is legal in some states if the mother doesn’t want the child.

These are the consequences of ignoring God’s commandments. Unlike some commandments, murder is a final act that cannot be undone. Contrary to Hindu and Buddhist thinking, God’s Word tells us mankind does not have a second chance at life.

Hebrews 9:27 makes this clear: …it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.

This commandment is relevant because murder has repercussions throughout all of society. Not only is the murderer and the victim affected, but so too are their families, friends, and the society at large. For example, how has your level of safety in your own home, school, and even in this church been effected by the knowledge that there are people in our society who would murder a mass number of people they do not even know? And they don’t need guns to do it, as the Muslim suicide bombers have proven.

Guns do not commit murder. Sinful hearts and unbelief are what commit murder.

SO WHAT DOES THIS COMMANDMENT CONDEMN?

Murder is the premeditated and deliberate taking of human life with evil intent.

I say “with evil intent” because, according to the Bible, there are times when the premeditated and deliberate taking of human life is morally and biblically justifiable. It may, in some circumstances, be both justified and a duty to take one life in order to save another. A policeman, who shoots a gunman to prevent him from killing others, or a soldier in warfare, who kills another in the defense of others, do not commit murder. Neither does this commandment prohibit the deliberate taking of human life for the purposes of capital punishment, as stated in Genesis 9:6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.

On the other hand, this commandment includes murder through carelessness, which is called man-slaughter. The way we build our house, drive our car, or sell our produce can be the cause of the death of others. That may not be our intention, but it can still be the direct result of our actions. This commandment forces us to consider that possibility. That is why we should stay home if we are sick; so we don’t cause the sickness or death of others. This unselfish act lets the healthy continue to work and gather for worship.

Leviticus 13:46 He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.

Likewise, we have safety regulations because we acknowledge that we are not to cause the death of someone else through our irresponsibility.

Deuteronomy 22:8 When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.

Therefore, the taking of human life, with evil intentions or through carelessness, is condemned. So is the destruction of our own lives.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Contrary to contemporary godless thinking, our life is not our own, whether we acknowledge that or not. Just as it is a lie that woman should have sole right to determine whether the child she carries should live or die, it is a lie to pretend that everyone has the right to choose the time of their death. Matters of life and death belong to God alone.

Finally, this command forbids all kinds of murderous expressions that don’t result in physical death, but destroy a person’s life.

Leviticus 19:16 "'Do not go about spreading slander among your people. "'Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the LORD.

Therefore, we may never physically kill someone and still be guilty of murder. There is more than one way to murder a person. We can murder them in our emotions, we can murder them in our thoughts, and we can murder their reputation with our words.

All these ways are just as serious in God’s eyes as murdering physically, because the spirit of murder is in our heart, which is what God judges. Listen to what Jesus said.

Matthew 5:21-22 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

Am I carrying the definition of murder too far? If we think, “I’m not guilty of murder,” we are ignoring the implications of this commandment and the unacknowledged sin in our heart seriously endangers our lives for eternity.

SO, AM I A MURDERER?

1 John 3:15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

God does not say, “You must not hate your brother because it will lead to murder”; He says, “You must not hate your brother because it is murder.” Read it again, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer!”

This commandment applies to every one of us. To rage in anger to the extent that we wish someone were dead (or that we will never have anything to do with them again) shows that we have murder in our heart, which is what God judges.

To despise someone or call them names is to destroy them. In our heart, we consider them sub-human, unworthy of respect. How often have we called someone, “a dirty rat, a stinking pig”, a lying snake”, or something worse? We may not murder them physically, but we wish they didn’t exist and we treat them worse than we would an animal.

Now honestly, I stand before you today guilty of murder. And so are most of you. We have not murdered with weapons in our hands, but with weapons in our thoughts and even with our tongues. If looks could kill, we have killed! We may be able to hide our guilt from each other, but not from God, who sees and judges our hearts.

That is why this commandment is so relevant today - because you and I have broken it!

But I have good news for you. Christ died to rescue and forgive murderers. Jesus died on a cross, paying the supreme penalty of the law so that we wouldn’t have to - so that we murderers may go free.

In fact, there was one murderer walking free around the streets of Jerusalem the day Jesus died on the cross. His name was Barabbas. The Jews called for his release instead of Jesus when Pilate offered them the choice. And you and I are alive today and enjoying this world because, like Barabbas, we can point to the cross and say, “Jesus took my place.” Remember that. However murderous our thoughts, intentions, or even our actions have been, there is hope for our future because Jesus was willing to take “the rap” for our crime. We can be forgiven and set free through faith in Jesus Christ.

However, Jesus doesn’t want us to continue in our sin. He pleads with us to give our lives to Him so that He can give us a new life of love! Every characteristic seen in the life of Jesus Christ becomes possible in our lives when we repent, submit to His Lordship—first through baptism and then, every moment of the day in obedience to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

Without Jesus, we are able to commit every crime that has ever been committed. With Jesus, we are able to cease from sin and have His character by His indwelling Holy Spirit.

If we persist in believing we are innocent of murder, if we think this commandment does not pertain to us, and if we stand on our own rights and wisdom, then at any second, an eruption may occur in our personal life. And we shall discover to our horror, that what Jesus said is appallingly true. I am a murderer!

That is why we all need Jesus. If you have never made Jesus Lord of your life, come to Him today in repentance and confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who atoned for your sin and murder on the cross. Give Him your life through baptism and be raised to a new life born of the Holy Spirit.