Are You a Good Person?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

You Will Not Kill

People have argued and debated the meaning of the word "kill" here for a long time. I remember, growing up as a boy, I would hear people say, "It refers to pre-meditated murder." I guess that's a point. I grew up believing that way, and that serving in the military would be an honor. (One that was snatched from me due to health reasons). Yet there is more to this.

When we read these words in Exodus 20:13 we tend to get tunnel vision. Jesus tears away the blinders causing this tunnel vision in His Sermon on the Mount. Notice what He says in Matthew 5:21,22, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

This isn't a popular teaching today. In fact it wasn't very popular back then either. How soon we have forgotten the Words of our Lord. Let us examine what Jesus is saying. First He states the obvious, that the way they had been taught was so strictly literal here that it only applied to murder. Sound familiar? Notice that the way it was being taught was not that those people would be in danger of going to Hell. The teachers of the law tried to soften the meaning of the law by saying those who did kill would be in danger of the judgment. Okay, that includes Hell, but the absence of naming it made it more palatable to the people. Jesus wasn't concerned about whether it hurt our feelings or not, but stuck with the issue. Jesus said that whoever is simply angry with his brother is in danger of judgment. He says that whoever calls his brother Raca, which means "worthless" would be in danger of the council. Yet whoever says, "Thou fool" will be in danger of Hell.

How often have you thought or said, "That person's a fool"? Have you ever called someone an idiot? Have you been so angry with someone that you screamed obscenities at them? What Jesus is saying here is that if you have you have broken this commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." That's an awesome statement. Calling someone a fool, an idiot or stupid has been part of my past...and I'm afraid I may stumble and make mistakes like that again. The law says I am guilty of murder. I am without excuse.

So what about serving in the military? Let me answer a question with a question. Can you go to war against someone without hating them? If you can, then I suppose you could serve in the military. If you can't (which is most of us), then even your honorable duty in protecting our country will be counted as murder. Please understand I am in no way putting down the military or asking people to force a withdrawel of our troops in Iraq. I am not saying we should be so self-righteous here that we leave our borders and our people unprotected. I'm just stating the obvious, where there is hate it is seen by God as murder. No war has been fought because they loved each other. It's fought because countries hate each other. This is murder.

Now God is a just God, a righteous God, and we seem to forget that to Him, sin is sin. The person who yells at his neighbor, "Hey, stupid! You want to get your kids out of my yard," is just as much a murderer as those serial killers we read about. When you assassinate someone's character it is the same to God as if you had physically killed them. With God there is no "wiggle" room. There is no bargaining.

What are we to do? All of us have at least called someone names from a hatred that was in our heart. All of us have said things that we regret. The Law of God condemns us. We are lost. We look to God and say, "God, I can't keep your law, not even these simple things that I thought I could keep. What am I to do? I don't want to go to Hell. I don't want to die. God, help me. Is there something that can save me, something I can do to balance the scales out." God answers, "There is nothing you can do to balance the scales because even your good works are filthy in my eyes. I cannot stand to look upon them. However, I have sent My Only Son to take upon Himself the punishment for all of your crimes. If you will receive this, My outstretched hand of mercy, all your sins shall be forgiven. I will not even remember what they were, so great is my mercy towards you. The work you could not do, the sacrifice you could not offer, My Son has done for you. All you need to do is to believe on Him, receive the life He gives to you and let His words live in you. Then you will escape punishment. Then my wrath shall not touch you. For your debt has been paid."

What about it friend? Have you ever called someone an idiot, a fool, "stupid"? Have you harbored hatred in your heart for someone? Do you see that the Law condemns you? Look then to the cross and see that His love has paid your penalty. You need not be in danger of Hell, but know you are a child of God, a citizen of Heaven. Would you accept this offer from him today? Write me if you have questions. I will be happy to answer them as best as I can. - David Brollier

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