LOVE OF LIFE
Alexander M. Sanders, Jr. is the Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals. He spoke to the graduating class of the
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
1 John 3:15
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 us and others. Ever notice how much children follow the example of a parent? Or a friend can influence another friend.
Anger can be contagious. Proverbs says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man…or you may learn his ways.” (Prov. 22:24-25)
This sixth Commandment has often been misunderstood or misinterpreted. I want to cover two broad areas today: (1) What this command does not mean, (2) What this command does mean.
I. WHAT THIS COMMANDMENT DOES NOT MEAN
A. It does not
prohibit killing animals or insects.
God does not contradict Himself.
Genesis 9:33 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. NKJV
You don’t have to be a vegetarian. It’s OK to eat animals for meat. Jesus ate fish.
B. It does not
prohibit capital punishment.
Leviticus 24 says, “Anyone who commits murder shall be put to death.” The principle is a life for a life. God had delegated authority for this to the government. God carries out revenge by punishing wrongdoers. All the court houses used to have the 10 Commandments prominently displayed. God desires swift judgment. Our appeals court system has made a mockery of this. When President William McKinley was assassinated his assassin was caught, convicted and executed 53 days later. That can’t happen today. Ted Bundy was in jail for 11 years before he was finally executed. Some say that capital punishment really doesn’t work – it doesn’t deter criminals. It deters the one executed doesn’t it! He won’t kill again. By the way, the average life sentence now is 8 years.
C. It does not
prohibit going to war.
8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.
It is right to defend ourselves, to preserve freedom for ourselves and our children. Quote, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” We ought to be thankful for men and women who have fought and killed in war to protect our freedom, such as we’ll honor Athol Skeen after the service today.
II. WHAT THIS COMMANDMENT DOES MEAN
Life is precious. We are created in the image of God.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them NKJV. That’s where the sanctity of life comes from. It separates us from animals. We must treat human life with respect and dignity. Here is what this Commandment means:
A. God says NO to
Suicide is the number 2 killer among college students, number three among H.S. students. People say, “It’s my life and I have a right to take it.” No you don’t. The Bible says, “You are not your own you were bought with a price.”
Job 14:5 Since his
days are determined, The number of his months is with You;
You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.
B. God says NO to Mercy Killing (Euthanasia)
Killing someone because of old age, deformity or incurable disease. I’m not talking about having a “Living Will” where you choose not to be kept alive artificially by machine or medicine. You prefer death by natural causes.
Job 12:10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the
breath of all mankind?
Euthanasia is a
slippery slope. Who determines when another person should not live? Hitler did
that for millions.
C. God says NO to
Psalms 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Did you know that 26% of all pregnancies in
Charles Swindoll has written: “Medical authorities determine a
person to be alive if there is either a detectable heartbeat or brain wave
activity. With that in mind, it is eye-opening for some to realize that unborn
children have detectable heartbeats at 18 days (21/2 weeks) after conception
and detectable brain wave activity 40 days after conception (51/2 weeks). What
is so shocking is that essentially all abortions occur after the 7th week of
In 1994, the featured speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast in
What if you have killed someone? Aborted a child? Hated someone so much that you are in danger of the fires of hell? What can be done? Can God forgive?
Yes, God can and has many times. Did you know that much of the Bible was written by murderers? Moses, David and Paul were all killers who were forgiven by God.
Maybe you’ve been on the other end of violence and you feel warranted to carry hatred for the one who hurt you. You can be eaten up with anger and bitterness or you can forgive. God will help you.