Fighting the Works of the Flesh: Murders
In the 15th post in this series covering the works of the flesh, we discuss several strategies for developing more respect for the sanctity of human life.
You may be asking why a biblically based website would write a blog post on murder. It would seem that our audience wouldn’t be the killing type. But, as we will see, the issue of murder is much bigger than just heartlessly killing another person.
The physical act of murder—whether cold-blooded murder, abortion or shooting an enemy on a battlefield—is indeed a sin. Murderous activity in all its forms is incompatible with Christianity—no matter how some try to justify, rationalize or normalize it.
But the Bible defines murder in very broad terms. It actually labels the feeling of hatred as murder (1 John 3:15). This blog post will take a “big picture” view of murder—contempt for the sanctity of life—from the mind to the actions.
Lies about murders
Lie No. 1: “Violence on television, in movies and in video games is harmless.”
It is a fact that the military uses first-person shooter video games to train soldiers in the art of killing. The point is to make them less sensitive to the feeling of killing another human being. This is called desensitization.
God created human life and should have the sole right to determine when it ends.This should make parents stop and think. Some parents allow their teens (and even preteens) to spend hours playing games where the player opens fire with machine guns into crowded areas, bashes in passing strangers’ heads with baseball bats, runs people over with cars and stabs people with swords. Ask many of these children what their favorite part of these games is, and some will actually say: “You get to kill people.” Reducing killing to a game is not normal or harmless. It is actually extremely harmful on numerous levels.
“But they’re just pixels! It’s not like I’m hurting anyone.” But the glorification of digital murder does hurt someone (even if it is never acted on in real life). It is hurting the mind of the player by diminishing his or her respect for human life.
For further insight into the dangers of violent video games, read “The Dark Side of Gaming.”
Lie No. 2: “People are allowed to determine who lives and who dies.”
Two of the greatest elements of good character—love and compassion—are totally incompatible with this lie. Why is it that so many people who oppose abortion seem to see no problem with soldiers killing others in warfare? Why is it that so many who oppose capital punishment and gun violence seem to see no problem with killing unborn children?
The real problem is, people don’t accept that God created human life and should have the sole right to determine when it ends. They ignore the God of all mercy and wisdom, who knows every situation perfectly and is able to resurrect anyone. The key to defeating this lie is totally accepting God as the giver of life (Job 33:4). Those who deeply internalize this fact are very sensitive to any form of murder.
Strategies for respecting the sanctity of life
1. Recognize the glorification of murders and reject it.
A good place to start is by using wisdom when choosing entertainment. Honestly speaking, this may require us to get rid of some forms of entertainment that glorify murder. This requires strength of character and conviction of conscience. Even a good story with great graphics shouldn’t become a rationalization to play a digital character that kills other digital characters. Get rid of them, and strive to find entertainment that doesn’t continually rely on violence. There are plenty out there to choose from!
2. View all people as future members of God’s family.
God’s plan is all about the opposite of murder—a world living in peace and safety under God’s beneficial laws. One of the most descriptive prophecies of the coming Kingdom of God is found in Isaiah 11:9: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
When Christ rules the earth, all will be taught that human life is precious. The idea that killing can be acceptable in certain circumstances will be gone. All life is precious to God. He even cares about people who now live completely contrary to godly standards. Christians should embrace these standards of love and compassion now.
To learn more about this future time of peace, read “Neither Shall They Learn War Anymore.”
3. Learn to despise and hate murders as much as possible.
Christ called Satan a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). Murder should be hated by Christians because it causes us to think like Satan and reject God’s authority to give and take life. Viewing the snuffing out of a person’s life as nothing or simply entertainment should prick our conscience.
Let us always place murders and thoughts of murder into the right category: a sinful work of the flesh that violates the Sixth Commandment.