Summary: Implications of the 6th Commandment - Thou Shalt Not Kill

Choose Life


Alexander M. Sanders, Jr., is the Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals. When his daughter Zoe graduated from the Univ. of South Carolina in 1992, he told this story that happened what she was just three years old.

Sanders came home from work one day to find his home – and especially his young daughter – in a state of turmoil. Zoe’s pet turtle had died, and she was crying as if her heart would break. Zoe’s mother had been dealing with the situation all day and declared that it was now Dad’s turn to try and make things better.

Although he was successful both as a lawyer and a politician, who confidently faced all kinds of complex issues and problems every day, this seemed out of his league. The mysteries of life and death are difficult, if not impossible for the mature mind to fathom. The task of explaining them to a three-year-old was completely beyond either his confidence or experience. But he tried.

First, he told Zoe that they could go to the pet store and buy another one just like the one who had died. Even at three years old, Zoe was smart enough to know that a turtle is not a toy. There’s really no such thing as getting another one just like the one who died. And so Zoe’s tears continued.

Desperate to quiet his little girl’s tears, he said, "I tell you what, we’ll have a funeral for the turtle."

Being three years old, she didn’t know what a funeral was.

Scrambling to come up with an explanation – as well as something that would get her mind off the turtle’s demise, he said "A funeral is like a birthday party. We’ll have ice cream and cake and lemonade and balloons, and all the children in the neighborhood will come over to our house to play. All because the turtle died."

Well, the prospect of a turtle funeral did the trick. Instantly, Zoe was her happy, smiling self. The turtle’s death was no longer cause for tears, but reason to rejoice!

So, with visions of cake and ice cream in their heads the two beamed down on the deceased turtle lying at their feet. As they did, the turtle began to move. And a few seconds later, he was crawling away as lively as – well, as lively as a turtle, but an undeniably LIVE turtle.

Then an even stranger thing happened. Sanders – a politician and a lawyer – was speechless.

Zoe had no such problem. After considering her options, she looked up at her father with her big beautiful eyes and – with all the innocence of her tender years – she said quietly, "Daddy, LET’S KILL IT."


Today, we are looking at the 6th commandment, “Do not commit murder.”

Of the 10 Commandments, this is probably the most universally acceptable.

Pretty much everybody agrees that “Do not commit murder” ought to be on anybody’s “Top Ten List” of things you shouldn’t do.

In fact, just to be sure, let’s take a quick vote:

How many of you would agree that “Do not commit murder.” should DEFINITELY be on the “Top 10” list of Commandments

How many DISagree? Did everybody vote? Any discussion? Let the record show……..

So we’re all agreed!

But have you ever wondered WHY murder is wrong?

The reason is found in the very core of creation.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. NIV

Every human being ever conceived was stamped with the image of God.

Theologians write long, unintelligible books about what that means, and I’m not about to try to give you a full explanation in one short sermon.

I couldn’t even if I tried!

But I know that it does mean that EVERY human being EVER conceived carries an imprint of God’s image.

It may be easier to SEE in some folks than others

But it’s there in every person

And it is that mark of God’s image that is the basis for this commandment.

It’s why murder is wrong, but eating hamburger is ok!

Because humans are stamped with the image of God, but cows are not.

That doesn’t mean we should be cruel to animals, but it means they ARE in another category.

Despite the slogans of animal rights advocates, like Ingrid Newkirk, who is the co-founder of the animal rights activist group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Now, I like animals. I’m all in favor of treating animals ethically. And my dog is treated better than the average human! But I can’t agree with Ms. Newkirk when she uses one of her favorite slogans:

“A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy"

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