Summary: Taking a life, either by physical murder of emotional abuse is wrong. This sermon looks at how we can cherish life.
May 31, 2009
One American is murdered approximately every 30 minutes. No matter where you turn in our world, there are murders. Watch the news, read the newspaper or check the Internet and there it is splashed before our eyes. We not only learn about true life murder, we also see it glamorized on television and in movies. Murder is all around us, we can’t seem to get away from it, yet what we must understand is the fact that murder is not only a crime against one another, it is a crime against God.
It’s reported that by the time a child grows up in America, he or she will have viewed thousands of murders and acts of violence on television and in the movies. We even have the opportunity to act on that violence in video games. There is a game called “Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now,” in which drivers receive points for running over pedestrians, including the elderly. The game was banned in Brazil, because it produced road rage. There are loads of games which promote violence, death and destruction. Games like “Postal,” has players pretend to be deranged and delirious postal workers who get points for killing people. The promotion on the ad reads, “Listen to victims moan and beg for mercy, execute them if they get on your nerves.” (Tender Commandments, Ron Mehl, 152) There are newer games like Left 4 Dead and many others which promote violence, swearing and more.
Then we hear this commandment by God “Thou shall not murder.” And our initial assumption is that this certainly doesn’t apply to me. I have never killed anyone, in fact, you may even have a difficult time killing those cute little lady bug looking beetles that venture into our homes.
We live in a world that appears to condone murder. We can ask, ‘why is there so much killing occurring in the world?’ Part of the problem is people do not believe in God, or they believe in a powerless and helpless God, so they seek to control every aspect of their existence and yours. Another problem is the vast unchecked and unhealed woundedness of the soul we carry around with us. Then there is another problem of the soul, one which can be referred to as a deadly virus.
A deadly virus that is rampant in our society - the virus of anger, which leads to murder. If we delay one instant after the light changes, or cut someone off while driving, we can trigger vile language, a vulgar gesture, or even a gun shot. Sometimes we are afraid to beep pour horn at someone, not knowing if their anger will lead to our destruction. Judges are killed in Colombia because they are an economic impediment to the drug lords of that country. A black teenager trying to buy a used car in New York was killed because he had wandered into a neighborhood of angry whites. If a line is too long or a checker seems too slow or there is a bad call in a game - the result may be outbursts of anger. We see the anger glamorized in professional sports arguments, and they work their way down to kids sports, as well.
Resentments, grudges and bitterness are common companions wherever we go, especially in homes. And this leads to anger, violence, and abuse. When it comes to violence and killing, our society seems to shrug and say, ‘that’s just the way it is.’
I don’t plan to spend a great deal of time on what we might call some of the obvious forms of murder.
Most, if not all of us, can breathe easy for we are distant from such events. Of course, we assume terrible hate crimes will not find their way to Alexandria. We may think ‘this is all terrible, but it doesn’t apply to me. I have never murdered anyone, so let’s move on.’ But before you check out on me, I want to remind you of what this commandment also includes. It includes the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:21-22. Listen to the way Jesus adds to this sixth commandment:
SLIDE21You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ’Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’
SLIDE22But 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.
SLIDE23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.