Summary: "Thou Shalt Not Kill" and how it applies to issues such as murder, abortion, euthanasia, suicide and war.
Alexander M. Sanders, Jr. is the Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals. He spoke to the graduating class of the University of South Carolina in 1992. His daughter, Zoe was a member of that class. He told a story about when Zoe was 3 years old. Sanders came home to find a crisis. Zoe’s pet turtle had died and she was crying her heart out. His wife turned the problem over to him to solve. First, Mr. Sanders explained that he would go to the pet store and get her another turtle. He got nowhere with that idea. Zoe knew that life couldn’t be transferred from one turtle to another. She wanted her turtle alive. She continued to cry. Then Mr. Sanders said, “I’ll tell you what, we’ll have a funeral for the turtle.” Being three years old she didn’t know what a funeral was. “A funeral,” he said, “is a great festival in honor of the turtle.” She didn’t know what a festival was so he began to do what all politicians do when they have difficulty, lie. “Actually,” 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 play. All because the turtle has died.” Success at last! Zoe’s tears began to dry up and she returned to her happy self. Then, an utterly unforeseen thing happened. They looked down, and lo and behold, the turtle began to move. He was not dead after all. In a matter of seconds he was crawling around as lively as ever. Mr. Sanders didn’t know what to say. But Zoe appraised the situation perfectly. With all the innocence of a three year old she looked up at her father and said, “DADDY, LET’S KILL IT.”
I know that the King James version says in this verse, “Thou shalt not kill” but all modern translations and the most accurate translation is “You shall not murder.” There is a difference between killing and murder as we will see in this message.
You may be thinking that you can skip this one. You probably don’t get the urge to murder too often (except sometimes on the interstate).
But, you may not realize how much violence has been programmed into you. Did you know that by the time the average child reaches the 6th grade he has already witnessed over 8000 murders on television? He has watched over 100,000 acts of violence on TV. In America every 22 minutes someone is shot, stabbed, beaten or strangled to death. We have the highest homicide rate in the world. More children die from violence than they do from sickness.
Jesus takes this Commandment to a different level. He applies it to the heart.
21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ’You shall not murder,’ and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ’Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ’You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. NKJV
15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Sin comes out of the heart of man. The first murder was in the family. Cain killed Abel because of jealously which led to anger which led to murder.
Note the progression Jesus gives: Emotional anger outburst, “Racca” (idiot) > to hate, “you fool” > murder (in danger of the fires of hell).
Emotions are powerful. They can stir up trouble in ourselves and others. Ever notice how much children follow the example of a parent? Or a friend can influence another friend. ILLUS.- Billy Martin told a story in his autobiography Number One, about when he and Mickey Mantle went hunting. Mickey had a friend who would let him hunt on his big ranch in Texas. When they reached the ranch, Mickey told Billy to wait in the car while he went inside to get permission to hunt. The rancher told Mickey, “Sure, but would you do me a favor first. I have an old mule that’s going blind in the barn would you mind shooting him for me and put him out of his misery?”
“Sure,” Mickey said.
Mickey decided to play a trick on Billy. When he got back to the car he slammed the door and said “I’m so mad at that guy. He won’t let us hunt. I’m going out to the barn and shoot his mule!” Martin protested, “We can’t do that!” But Mickey was adamant. “Just watch me,” he shouted. Mantle got his gun and ran into the barn and shot the mule. As he was turning to leave, Mickey heard two more shots and ran back to the car. Martin had taken out his gun and shot two cows. “What are you doing, Billy?” Mantle asked. Martin yelled back, “We’ll show that son-of-a-gun!”