Cross posted at Stubborn Things
Corollary: Thou shalt not redefine murder in a pathetic attempt to pretend it isn’t murder.
Having done prison ministry for the last 8 years, I’ve met more murderers than the average person – including one who, post-redemption by Jesus, could honestly claim that he was “as friendly as a basketful of puppies.” But that hasn’t made me go soft on crime. I admit that I enjoy reminding anti-capital punishment folks that not only is capital punishment – properly applied – a biblical alternative, it was actually God’s idea (see Genesis 9 and Romans 13, among others). And no, Jesus didn’t overturn it, but that’s a separate topic.
You might think that people would intuitively consider any kind of murder to be the most serious sin against God and neighbor. Murder takes the life of an innocent human being, it kills an image-bearer of God, it usurps God’s sovereignty over life and death and it is a culmination of a host of other sins: lust, greed, covetousness, hate, anger, pride, etc. How could we explain that away? Yet people have been rationalizing it since Genesis 4.
Not only do people create gods in their own images, they create words and phrases in their own images, such as “same-sex marriage” (pure oxymoron) and “reproductive rights/health/etc.” (deadly and misleading euphemisms, because abortion kills a human being who has already been reproduced). Even highly intelligent people like the authors of Freakonomics insist that murder rates have gone done over the centuries, conveniently ignoring that abortion is murder. People are Romans 1 poster children, pretending to be anti-murder while suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.
I’ve even seen Christian pacifists support abortion. One such activist was quote-mining some church fathers to develop a twisted appeal to pure pacifism but he ignored the clear accompanying admonitions against abortion. What could be more violent than literally ripping off someone’s limbs and crushing her skull? Yet with no hint of hypocrisy the pacifist opposed any abortion restrictions.
Then there are the Christian grandparents who pay for their grandchildren to be killed with deadly equivocations about how it is better to “ruin” one life than three – ignoring how the word is used just a little differently regarding the death of the preborn child than it would have been if he had been allowed to live.
The disabled are valued so little that it is now broadly considered a moral good to kill them in the womb and a moral evil to allow them to live.
It flows downhill from there. When half of society considers it a moral good to be allowed to kill your child, why should we be surprised at anything else they come up with?
Part of the problem is worshiping government over God. Even the writers of the The Simpsons understood this to a degree when they had Reverend Lovejoy say, “Once something has been approved by the government, it’s no longer immoral.” They rationalize murder as being best for the rest of society (see abortion, or the Holocaust or the tens of millions killed by their Communist governments in the 20th century). If you think the Leftists aren’t capable of trying to wipe out believers then you haven’t read The Gulag Archipelago.
The best solution is the authentic Gospel and making disciples. That will transform hearts, minds and societies more than anything else. It will drive out bad thinking and false religions. But it starts with discipline – church discipline – which means getting rid of the wolves in sheep’s clothing running most major denominations. The fault is actually with the Bible-believing Christians who let the wolves come in and take over. They acted like they were being nice to allow alternate (read: apostate) viewpoints in the church, but they were really just being nice to themselves in the interest of avoiding controversy. Sharing the truth of Jesus is not only the best way to make disciples but to transform societies for the better. That will reduce murder and other sins more than anything else. Absent a right view of the cross and the resurrection people will continue to do what is right in their own eyes.
And the Gospel is there for the salvation of those who have committed murder, including the hundreds of millions involved in the abortion process in some form. I’ve seen God redeem murderers countless times in pregnancy center ministry and in prison ministry. Jesus came with a perfect balance of grace and truth. We have the truth on the seriousness of murder, the reality of murder, how to reduce murders and how to offer grace to those who have committed murder – and every other sin.