Staff & Sling

Joseph E. Hébert, Ph.D.

98119 N 3745 Rd
Okemah, OK  74859
918 623 3078

Not You Shall Murder

Perhaps you would more easily recognize the title of this article if it were written in the more customary translation “Thou shalt not kill,” (Exodus 20: 13). The Hebrew language employs several verbs which mean to kill. In this case the word is (79 (resh tsade chet, right to left, pronounced retsach) and it means murder, or to shed innocent blood. Actually, the word in scripture includes the prefix tav, ((79;) which makes the word mean "you shall murder," and the whole verse is written (79; !-, which translates literally as "Not you shall murder."

As a nation we are in the midst and throes of a great debate. Is it murder to kill the unborn? Many believe that the unborn are not yet people, and thus it is not murder to kill them. And let’s all be clear about this one point. If the unborn are not people, it in fact is not murder to kill them. I think most can agree on this, that if a thing is not a person, it is not murder to kill that thing. But unborn babies are people, created in God’s image, and it is in fact murder to kill them.

But in our fervor to bring light to this national shame we must be exceedingly cautious. We must always remind ourselves of the scripture that says “Be angry, and sin not,” (Ephesians 4: 26a).

I really do understand the desire of many to brandish signs with pictures of aborted fetuses. I share that desire. What’s more, I do not believe there is anything necessarily wrong with forcing people out of their comfortable denial by confronting them with the reality of their position. But I also recognize that this is a particularly aggressive stance, and so I must be extra cautious as I proceed.

If you think about it you will see that it is a very short step from brandishing these signs to brandishing signs that accuse abortionists and their clients of being murderers. And if we are ready to condemn them as murderers, how far must we go before we are prepared to kill the abortionists ourselves, convinced it is a justifiable effort to save the babies?

I can think of nothing more repugnant than brandishing a sign telling someone that God hates them. First it’s a lie, and more importantly it’s a lie that, if believed, can bring someone to an eternity in Hell. Abortionists, and their clients, may be murderers, but scripture tells us “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer:” (I John 3: 15a). So before you become too righteous in your anger, I would remind you of Jesus’ words to the crowd who was ready to judge the adulterous woman. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” (John 8: 7b).

And to the abortionist, and his clients, I would remind you of Jesus’ words to the adulterous woman. “… go, and sin no more,” (John 8: 11b).

Too many have come to believe that the point of this debate is to save the babies. But the babies are better left to God’s mercy. As Christians, our concerns should be with the abortionists, and their clients. These, not the babies, are the people who need to find repentance. These, not the babies, are the people who need God’s forgiveness. These, not the babies, are the people who need our prayers.

And lest there are any among us who still think themselves better than abortionists, I would make one final point. Not all sin is against God. Oh, to be sure, all sin separates us from God, but not all sin is against God. Think about it and you will find that all the sins we think of as the worst sins, are sins committed against us. We think of murder, and adultery, and stealing as pretty bad sins. But we hardly take notice of sins like pride, or taking God’s name in vain. The day doesn’t pass that we don’t hear the name of God used as an exclamation, and we don’t even notice.

So if it is possible for one sin to be worse than another, which do you think is worse. Is a sin against a man more egregious, or a sin against God? Now who do you think is more deserving of God’s wrath. Is it the abortionist, or the Christian declaring that God hates him?

In closing I want to tell you about a woman named Molly. On 23 February 2006 she posted an entry on her blog site (Molly Saves The Day) entitled, “For the women of South Dakota: an abortion manual.” It is a detailed set of instructions on how to perform a dilation and curettage abortion. I would urge everyone to pray for Molly, that the Lord will convict her and bring her to repentance and salvation. No, she doesn’t deserve God’s mercy. But she is no more undeserving than you or I.