"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
What do you mean I’m a murderer!?
We have hit the 6th commandment mark in our series on the 10 commandments (link here to sermon). Here is a commandment that is laced with controversy and unintended consequences. Murder is a harsh word, that (in some circles) is politically charged and could cause many to recoil. And it should. Our political climate and cultural climate has begun to desensitize us to the “condition” of human life. I am not sure that a week goes by were murder is not shown on tv, or played out in video games. This commandment covers the topics of war, abortion, manslaughter, and outright murder.
So when we look at the 6th commandment murder must be defined. My pastor defined murder as the following “Any act of violence against an innocent human being out of hatred, anger, malice, deceit or for personal gain by whatever method that results in death.” This is a definition that all of us (including most laws) will agree with.
I want to talk about the elephant in the room that everyone can see, and I want to talk about the 800lb Gorilla in the room that very few see.
First to the 800lb gorilla…all of us, at some point, more than likely have committed murder.
I wanted to start here because if you ask the average Christian, atheist, or agnostic if they have ever committed murder they would all answer no. They would be about 50% correct. The truth is that 99.9% of those same people have committed murder and have no idea that they have…
Jesus is known for ramping things up…so to speak. He does so with the 6th commandment. The point here is pretty straightforward. The Bible says that anyone who is
angry with his brother is guilty of murder (Matthew 5:21-22, 1 John 3:15). So the act of physical murder is one thing, but anger and hate is murder as well? Does that even make sense? ABSOLUTELY! The point that Jesus is making is that the intent in your heart matters! God can see through to your heart and knows what your heart is saying….even if your exterior is smiling at the person you hate. Let this soak in for a second…Every person you have hated…you have murdered…in your heart. That would make some of us psychopaths.
The fact that this is a HIGH standard is intentional. Raise your hand if you have hated anyone. Okay know that all of our hands are up…including mine…would you have ever thought that the emotion of anger and hate was tantamount to murder? This is undeniably a high standard and underscores the reason for our need for salvation.
Now to the elephant…abortion. Abortion is, and has become a very politically charged issue. Many argue that abortion is a moral issue. What is the moral issue? A woman has a right to choose what to do with her body. However, I would argue that choice is not a moral issue. Moreover, I would argue pro-choice is simply a position that could be applied to any issue where a choice is required…such as school vouchers (opportunity for parents to send their kids to a school of their choice), or the gun issue (my choice to have a weapon in the house). The moral issue at play for the issue of abortion is this, is it right or wrong to murder? Now, I can immediately envision the embolism that is taking place in the heads of pro-abortion individuals. Hear me out. Pro- Abortion and pro-life individuals both agree that murder is wrong. No one on either side of that argument would defend murder as defined above. The question then isn’t whether or not murder is wrong; because we all know that it is…the question then becomes when does life begin? Is abortion in fact murder? Check this out…In Roe v. Wade the US Supreme Court declined to comment on the issue of life. Rather a neutral position was declared saying that it wasn’t necessary for them to know when life began. Doesn’t that seem odd? A court ruling that allows for the termination of a pregnancy ignoring the question of whether the fetus is in fact alive. Now Planned Parenthood v. Casey does define when life begins (yes a court did this) however, the morality (which is where I am attacking here) was as vague if not more vague from this ruling.
Consider the following quote from the Casey case: “Some of us as individuals find abortion offensive to our most basic principles of morality, but that cannot control our decision. Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code…at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Now that you have read this…re-read it while considering the following: 1. The court mandated it’s own moral code, while stating that it could not. 2. Based on the above one could argue that a murderer defines his existence by murdering. The above statement could be used to justify anything under the guise that it defines a person’s existence, and meaning.
Now, in our small group we discussed this topic at length. It was brought up that scientific studies show that the cells do not enter the womb until the 6th day of pregnancy (yes this is relevant.) Looking at abortion statistics from a 2006 CDC survey, 40% (487,000) of abortions take place AFTER the 9th week and 60% (755,000) less than 9 weeks. We don’t know how many abortions take place from day 6 and before, but I am willing to wager not very many considering that most do not find out they are pregnant until the missed cycle (which could be anywhere from 3 weeks). Consider the above statistics when reading the next paragraph.
According to Psalm 139:13-16 God knit us together in the womb. He sees our unformed body. He wrote out our history before we saw one day. Psalm 139 offers instruction as to when life begins. So there could be two sides to this argument… the Conservative, life begins at conception, or the liberal, life begins when God knits us together in the womb. Both conclusion could be had from Psalm 139. To rephrase…life begins at conception or at the time we enter the womb for knitting (day 6).
To summarize…God has provided a timeline to when life starts. The courts have been put into a position to try and define when life starts, but they relegate it to choice. If life starts (even at the latest) 6 days after conception, then abortion at any point beyond that has to be considered murder, according the definition provided above.
While the argument about abortion is indeed heated, one must remove the cultural issue (choice) and focus on the moral issue at hand (murder). When you focus on the true moral issue of murder, the only question that exists about abortion is, when does life begin. If the argument for abortion looked specifically at that question…I have a feeling that the tone would be much different.