A Murderer’s Checklist

Murderer's checklistYou shall not murder (Exodus 20:13) sounds pretty straightforward. This verse is actually just one word in the Hebrew language: ratsach. The idea is a human killing another human in an animalistic way.

Think of a predatory animal like a lion. The lion attacks as an angry response when it is provoked. There is no thought about consequences or possible alternatives, but it simply lashes out in anger. A lion will also lie in wait to ambush its prey. Humans who kill in this animalistic way are regarded in the Bible as murderers (see Exodus 21:14; Numbers 35:20-21, and Deuteronomy 19:11, 13).

The legal definition of homicide today says it is “the killing of a human being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought (prior intention to kill the particular victim or anyone who gets in the way) and with no legal excuse or authority.”

God determines our day of conception (Psalm 139:16), the value and purpose of our life  while we are alive (Ephesians 2:10), and the day of our death (Job 14:5). Taking any of these things out of God’s hand, and putting them into our own hands, not only constitutes murder but dishonors God.

Some things are obviously homicide: Abortion is murder, suicide is murder, euthanasia is murder. Because these things put man in the place of God, they are unlawful.

But think of this: Slander is also murder. According to rabbinical scholars, publicly humiliating someone is murder, because it is character assassination. Jewish law also forbids the sharing of true but harmful information about someone else. Both of these things devalue a human being’s God-given value and purpose. Jesus echoed these teachings in Matthew 5:21-22 and Matthew 15:19.

J.I. Packer wrote, “We all have in us capacities for fury, fear, envy, greed, conceit, callousness, and hate that, given the right provocation, could make killers out of us all. … When the fathomless wells of rage and hatred in the normal human heart are tapped, the results are fearful.”

Here’s a quick checklist to make sure we aren’t getting close to becoming murderers:

  • Do I get too angry too quickly, and stay angry too long?
  • Do I harbor unforgiveness against anyone?
  • Have assassinated someone’s character?
  • Am I “lying in wait” for anyone to catch them doing wrong?

To stay clear of these murderous ways:

Look For What’s Right

Cedar Springs PostI wrote a letter to the editor of The Cedar Springs Post in advance of this upcoming election.

Dear Editor:

It’s a simple fact: You find what you’re looking for. If you are looking for bad news, you will find something to criticize; if you are looking for good news, you will find something to compliment.

In this election cycle, I hear and read far too many candidates that are looking for the things that are wrong. Electing those candidates perpetuates bad news. Is everything perfect in Cedar Springs? In Michigan? In the United States? Of course not. But there is a lot that is right. I’m much more interested in focusing on those things.

The way to move our city, our state, and our country forward is to support those candidates that are focused on our strengths—on what’s right in our communities—and electing them into positions where they can help our strengths overcome our weaknesses.

Send a message this election cycle: Vote for the candidates that are looking for what’s good and right and strong.

Sincerely,

Craig T. Owens, City of Cedar Springs

Poetry Saturday—I Asked The Lord That I Might Grow

John NewtonI asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek more earnestly His face.

‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray;
And He, I trust, has answered prayer:
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d grant me my request;
And, by His love’s constraining power,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this? I trembling cried;
Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?
‘Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free,
To break thy schemes of worldly joy,
That thou mayst seek thy all in Me. —John Newton

 

Links & Quotes

Some good reading from today…

“The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.” —C.S. Lewis

Excellent post: How The Church Should Talk About Sex.

“As in our Lord’s life His teaching was always connected with healing, He would have the church also take a very deep interest in the bodily sorrows of the people as well as in their spiritual needs. It will be a very great pity if ever it should be thought that benevolence is divorced from Christianity.” —Charles Spurgeon

Eric Metaxas has a powerful call-to-action regarding the Houston government’s abuse of power in their subpoenas of pastor’s sermons. You can also sign a petition supporting free speech and freedom of religion at Houstonproblem.com.

John Bunyan On Prayer

John BunyanSome good words about prayer from John Bunyan—

“When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart.”

“Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Spirit, for such things as God has promised.”

“The best prayers have often more groans than words.”

“Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for satan.”

Crescendo

CrescendoThis short film presents a powerful pro-life message!

Encourage Your Pastor

C.H. SpurgeonOctober is designated as Pastor Appreciation Month. Although these words are nearly 150 years old, they are just as true today as they were when Charles Spurgeon spoke them. Check out what the “prince of preachers” had to say about encouraging your pastor—

“Why do you leave your own minister? If I see one come into my place from the congregation of another brother in the ministry, I would like just to give him a flea in his ear such as he may never forget. What business have you to leave your minister? If everyone were to do so, how discouraged the poor man would be. Just because somebody happens to come into this neighborhood, you leave your seats. Those who are going from place to place are of no use to anybody; but those are the truly useful men who, when the servants of God are in their places, keep to theirs, and let everybody see that whoever discourages the minister they will not, for they appreciate his ministry. Again, let me say by often being present at the prayer-meeting you can encourage the minister. You can always tell how a church is getting on by the prayer-meetings. I will almost prophesy the kind of sermon on the Sabbath from the sort of prayer-meeting on the Monday. If many come up to the house of God, and they are earnest, the pastor will get a blessing from on high; it cannot but be, for God opens the windows of heaven to believing prayer. Never fail to plead for your pastor in your closet. Dear friends, when you mention a father’s name, and a child’s name, let the minister’s name come forth too. Give him a large share in your heart, and both in private and public prayer, encourage him. Encourage him, again, by letting him know if you have received any good.” —Charles Spurgeon

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