“Well at least I haven’t murdered anyone . . .”
It’s probably the most hackneyed self justification out there. “Well, maybe I cheated on my taxes, but [scoff], at least I haven’t murdered anyone.” or “Well, maybe I cheated on my husband, but [scoff], at least I haven’t murdered anyone.” or a thousand other “Well maybe I . . . . .” sins.
This Sunday we confessed the explanation to the 5th Commandment together in worship:
What is the Fifth Commandment?
You shall not murder.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.
Well, according to that, maybe you murdered someone. In fact, Jesus in Matthew 5 seems to equate this commandment with even calling someone a fool: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”
I’m a murderer.
It just doesn’t have the same ring to it to say “Well, maybe I cheated on my taxes AND I murdered someone.” It doesn’t even have the same ring to say “Well, I murdered someone, but at least I didn’t cheat on my taxes.”
I have often marveled at how the good news of the Gospel can sound like bad news. “Jesus died on the cross because of my sins,” can be a confession of the depth of Jesus’ love for us, but it is at the same time a confession of our murderous hearts. He died there because of us. We had and even have active roles in His murder.
But He did not have an active role in our murder. And that is the good news. Rather, He helped and supported us in every physical need – especially the physical need of a Resurrection from the dead. Even though we are murderers, God did not choose to murder us. He chose to save us, to help and support us.
Because of that, we get to join the strangest group on the planet: Murderers for Life. (amazingly the url murderersforlife.com has not been snatched up yet) But when you think about it, maybe the irony isn’t all there is to that name. Who better to preach about the sanctity of life than those who have felt it dim in our hands because of our actions and sins?
I’m murderer. But I’m for life. Because He was the murdered, but He gave me His.