SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (November 5, 2013)
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God” Galatians 5:19-21.
“I WARN YOU, AS I DID BEFORE, THAT THOSE WHO LIVE LIKE THIS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD” Galatians 5:21b (NIV).
We have been looking at several of the acts of the sinful nature as mentioned by Paul in Galatians 5:19-21. I believe that they are helping us to be transformed into true images of God. As already mentioned, this is to help us know whether we are losing the battle against the flesh or not. Once any of the sinful acts or any act in the nature of any of the sinful acts begin to manifest in our lives, we should know right away that something is going wrong because the flesh is taken over our spiritual nature. Today we want to focus our attention on murder and treat the last two in the next edition.
Murder is the slaying of human beings by other human beings. It usually involves the use of weapons such as knives, machetes, guns or pistols or any possible weapon one can think of. It can also be done with the bare hands or through intentional suffocation. Murder is something which is normally done intentionally to take away another person’s life. It is something which is condemned in almost all human societies throughout the world.
This means that murder is sinful to both Christians and non-Christians alike and it is regarded as criminal offence by most states in the world and therefore punishable. The punishment for murder varies from society to society. But the Bible makes it clear in the Old Testament that the punishment for murder, taking of another person’s life is death (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:12; Leviticus 24:17; Numbers 35:30-31). Of course we know in Exodus 20:7 that God commandment us not to commit murder (Ten Commandments). Yet the punishment for murder in our contemporary world varies from place to place due to ethical issues and human rights issues. Some have argued that when murder is committed as an act of self-defense, it should be regarded as homicide not murder and therefore the punishment should not be death or the person be freed. Others also argue that killing is not the antidote to killing so even though death by hanging or firing squad is still in the statute books of nations, its use is becoming more and more limited.
I am not interested in joining the ethical or human rights debates on whether those who kill should be killed or not at this point. The point I am making is that murder is a serious sin which the Lord frowns upon because it involves the taking of another man’s life which no one has the right to do. This is because life and death is in the hands of God not man. Again, God created man in his image so no one has the right to take another man’s life without authorization by God. God said in Genesis 9:6 that: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.”
The sin of murder is associated with criminals and those who are mentally derailed possessed by evil spirits. It is very remote to find murder in this category among Christians. Whenever you hear a pastor or a Christians has committed or attempted to commit murder, it sounds strange to both Christians and non-Christians alike because it is not something associated with Christians. Why then did Paul add them to the list of acts of the sinful nature?
My answer is simple. Paul added it because it is a sin in the first place. Secondly, it is very prevalent among Christians. If you doubt me, let’s take a journey into what murder actually is and see. As already indicated, murder is the taking of another person’s life or an attempt made to take another person’s life. This goes beyond the use of weapons such as knives and guns. It involves any act which can kill another person either immediately or in the future and either directly or indirectly. It includes what we say or do to others which have the tendency of making them sick, or causing them to commit suicide eventually. It includes anything we do or say to cause pains to others knowingly or unknowingly. I am very sure we are now beginning to realize how prevalent murder is among Christians.
Many Christians commit murder on daily basis by the way they speak to others. Sometimes Christians use very painful words against their fellow human beings with the aim of making such people feel they cannot be taken for granted. We may not see how we commit murder until we realize others committed suicide because of what we did or said to them. When you look at your fellow human beings and speak to them in words which make them feel they are worthless or not human beings, do you consider how much pain you are causing them and what the long term effect could be? Do you know that your words can make someone develop heart diseases as a result of too much pain? When you speak to another or treat another person to make them feel they are not human you are in the process of committing murder because you do not know what the future effect might be. Sometimes we do that out of the pain they cause us by way of vengeance. However we should not forget that vengeance belongs to the Lord (Romans 12:19), therefore even when we feel so hurt, we should not do anything that will cause similar or worse pains to others.
How about alleviating the pains of others? We can avoid many people dying through our actions and inactions. Many people go through pains and sorrow throughout the world and are dying. In most cases, our support for the suffering masses in the world can reduce the rate at which people die. Some need little amounts of food or drugs to help prolong their lives since death is inevitable. In such situations, our support for the sick, the distressed, the poor and the needy is the same as saving their lives. It is our Christian responsibility do so. It is a demonstration of our love.
We all know politicians have neglected their duties and worsening the situation of the world by causing poverty and deaths around the world. If our actions and inactions cause any loss of lives, then we may also be described as ‘murderers in disguise.’ We have a duty to help alleviate the pains of others and reduce problems such as infant and maternal mortality, hunger, thirst, diseases etc throughout the world. I know this may not sound right to some of us, but just pause a little and think about it. The point is that our actions and inactions can result in the taking of human lives directly or indirectly. In that case, we are accomplices. How will you feel if you wake up to find that the woman who asked you for bread last night and you refused, died just ten meters away from your house? Will you feel you had a hand in her death? We should therefore be careful of all our actions and inactions as believers in order not to cause or increase the pains of others, whether Christians or non-Christians because we can never tell whether it could lead to loss of lives or not.
Quiet apart from the physical murders, Christians can also commit spiritual murders when our actions or inactions lead people away from Christ instead of leading them to Christ. If your attitude towards believers and unbelievers move them away from the path of righteousness, you are leading them to hell and therefore causing spiritual murder. If you fail to share the good news to sinners in order for Christ to save their lives, you are failing as a Christian. Also, if we speak words or do anything that causes pains to others or make them sick and possible die as a result of such sicknesses, you are also committing murder in a way. Your tongue can be very destructive to people’s lives because it can act as deadly poison (James 3:8). We should therefore think about these things carefully and avoid all forms of murder among Christians.
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
See also :
The Acts of the Sinful Nature (Part 1)
The Acts of the Sinful Nature (Part 2)
The Acts of the Sinful Nature (Part 3)
The Acts of the Sinful Nature (Part 4)
The Acts of the Sinful Nature (Part 5)
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.