July 14, 2007

Snuffing Out Life

Matthew 5:21-26

"You shall not murder." Exodus 20:13


I get it. Killing someone obviously affects our relationship with that person and with those who knew and cared for that person. Societies recognize that murder--wrongly taking the life of someone--is obviously wrong. And because God is the author of life, it violates our relationship with him too.

The implications of this commandment go in many directions. The command speaks to the issues of capital punishment, abortion, "just war," and suicide. Of course, we can't cover all that ground here. But we can talk about the heart of this commandment: life.

Concern for life is at the core of the sixth commandment. God says we must respect life because he is its creator and giver. And we, his unique creations, are made in his image. That's what makes human life holy.

In Matthew 5, Jesus teaches that anything that diminishes life is equal to murder. Laughing at a clumsy kid for tripping over his own feet, mocking someone's "poor" taste in clothing; excluding someone because of their race or background; calling someone stupid; gossiping; demeaning a child in public; dishonoring our parents--things like these are ways in which we can snuff out someone's life. And that interferes with our relationship with God. Our love for God must include honoring the life he has given to others.

Thank you, Lord, for life. I want to see others as people whose lives are special. Help me to fight against any way in which I may be snuffing out life. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Henry Kranenburg

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