Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sin of Murder

A few weeks ago, Tookie Williams was executed for murdering four people. Many people say he was not guilty. Many others say he was guilty, but that he was rehabilitated—that he had redeemed himself, because he did a great deal of work trying to discourage teenagers from joining gangs.

In the aftermath of the execution, I saw on television a feature about another convicted murderer, a man whose name I don’t remember. He said he became a Christian and has been forgiven. He leads Bible studies in prison and works with Prison Fellowship people, trying to spread Christianity there. He said to the interviewer (not his exact words), “The Bible says that a person who commits the sin of murder is not any worse in God’s eyes than a person who shoplifts.”

What??!! This is a hard concept for us to understand and accept today.

Here it is—Proverbs 6:16-19, in Today’s New International Version (TNIV).

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up dissension in the community.

Here’s what I think it means. I think sin, which means anything that separates us from God, is just sin—all evil—in God’s eyes. God is holy; his nature is goodness and love. He can’t bear to look at sin, whether it is lying, stealing, being too selfish and proud—or murder.

I think it means we humans do not have the right to judge whose act of meanness is the worst, because we are all bad by nature. If we presume to say that what Tookie did (or was accused of, at least) is far worse than anything we ourselves ever did, then we are guilty of pride; and our “haughty eyes” see ourselves as being better than others.

But we have to remember that what we do affects what other people do. For example, if I, as a mother, were completely self-absorbed, angry, and mean-spirited, wouldn’t it be possible that I might raise my children to be the kinds of adults who would commit murder?

To be continued~~

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