Everywhere we look, we see it: Our culture is awash in violence and murder. We see it in movies and television programs. We see it in music and video games. And we see it in real time.
Just imagine how different our world would be if we would obey this Commandment: “You must not murder” (Exodus 20:13 NLT).
The Bible, however, doesn’t condemn all killing. The Old Testament book of Numbers, chapter 35, plainly states the difference between killing and murder. All murder is killing, but not all killing is necessarily murder.
For example, if someone were to break into your home with the intent of harming or killing you and the members of your family, do you have the right to defend yourself?
Clearly the answer is yes. We see this supported in the Bible. In fact, Jesus said to His disciples, “Take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!” (Luke 22:36 NLT). Why would they need a sword? Obviously, it was for self-defense.
We also know that God has established the military and law enforcement for our own protection, because Romans 13 tells us, “The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong” (verse 4 NLT).
Then there’s our military, those who serve us in uniform. We should thank God for them. We should also pray for them, because they need our prayers. Some would assert, however, that God is against war.
God is not for war, but there are times when there’s a just cause for a war.
In Matthew’s Gospel, for example, we read about a centurion who approached Jesus and said, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented” (8:6 NLT).
Now, if Jesus were against war and the military, He could have said to this centurion, “Forsake your armor and your weapons and follow me.”
Instead Jesus said, “I will come and heal him” (verse 7).
But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed” (verse 8).
The Bible tells us that “when Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!'” (verse 10). In a way, Jesus commended him.
The literal meaning of the word murder is “to dash in pieces.” The Bible never uses this word to describe the death of an animal, the death of an opponent in war, or death that comes through capital punishment.
What I find ironic is that some of the people who oppose capital punishment are in support of abortion on demand. Essentially they’re saying, “Spare the guilty and take the life of the innocent.” An unborn child in the womb is innocent and has every right to live.
By the way, I will not concede any point on the topic of abortion, because life begins at conception, and we’re made in the image of God. If you don’t agree with that, then you disagree with the Bible. The psalmist David wrote, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13–14 NKJV).
David goes on to say, “Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (verse 16 NLT).
God has a plan for every one of us, even before birth. God said to the prophet Jeremiah, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5 NLT).
Every child is created by God and should be given the chance to live. As Max Lucado pointed out, “You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the Earth by the Master Craftsman.”
Every child, no matter how he or she was conceived, is loved by God.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, this doesn’t really apply to me. I’ve never murdered anyone.” But Jesus took it a step further in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!” (Matthew 5:21–22 NLT).
Jesus was saying, “You can say that you’ve never killed anyone, but do you hate someone so much that you wish he were dead? Then, in effect, you’re a murderer in your heart.”
That hits a little closer to home, doesn’t it? Some people are driven by anger and hatred, but hatred is clearly forbidden in Scripture. In fact, the apostle John said, “Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them” (1 John 3:15 NLT).
Is there someone whom you have hatred toward?
The Bible tells us, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31–32).
As we look at the Ten Commandments, we realize that every one of us has broken some of them. Every one of us has sinned against God. His commandments were not given to make us holy. They were given to show us how unholy we actually are—and to show us how much we need Jesus.
Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.
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This article was originally published at WND.com