“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” –I John 3:10
Scripture Reading Proverbs 1:7-19
Nothing seems more wasteful than the unnecessary murders of innocent people. Yet, it has been going on from the very beginning, with the murder of Abel, on down to the present with the recent terrorist activities.
Even though wars are heinous, probably more in mind here is indiscriminate murder by individuals or groups. Examples abound: Cain killed Abel; David killed Uriah; Jezebel killed Naboth; the inquisitions of the Dark and Middle Ages; the righteous prophets who were killed simply because they brought a message from God.
And then, there was Jesus. He was sinless, without guile in His mouth; and yet, the religious leaders of His day hated Him and had Him put to death. The instigators of the crime are as guilty as if they had carried it out themselves. When they cried, “Let His blood be upon us and our children,” it was—with great severity. Rome, whom they wanted to crucify Jesus, dealt them the same death blow.
The killing of innocent people does not go unpunished. Rome fell. The Holy Roman Empire came to and end. Hitler’s Germany fell and other nations, terrorist groups, and individuals, will meet a similar fate unless they repent. God will take up the cause of the persecuted and innocent victims (Psalm 94:23).
Lest we think that these examples are far removed from us, Jesus brings it closer home when He says, “That whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” The way to stop murder is to stop it at its source—the heart. When it is set right with God, the actions do not go far enough to cause harm.
- How did the first murder come about? Genesis 4:3-5, 8. What was the underlying cause? Genesis 4:6-7.
- What king was known for shedding innocent blood? II Kings 21:1, 6, 16. What did he later do? II Chronicles 33:9-16, 18-19
- What king was held responsible for murder even though it wasn’t done by his hand? II Samuel 11:14-17. Why is this principle important?
- Where did mob rule cause a murder? Acts 7:54-60. How could this anger have been controlled?
- What is said about hate towards a brother? Matthew 5:21-22; I John 3:15-16.
- Who are often the victims of crimes? Psalm 10:2, 8-10; Psalm 94:4-6, 21.
- Who will take up their cause? Malachi 3:5; Psalm 94:1-2, 22-23; Hosea 4:1-3; Deuteronomy 27:24-25.
- What instruction does God give us concerning violence? Jeremiah 22:3; I Peter 4:15.
- What happens when judgment against evil is delayed? Ecclesiastes 8:11.
- How might we disarm an enemy of ours? Matthew 5:33-48; Romans 12:14, 17-21.
Whether a Christian should ever resort to physical violence has been a controversy for many years. What is often overlooked however is that there are many other ways to kill and destroy. The person who first said, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me,” was in error. Words can build up, complement, soothe and make peace—but words can also tear down, wound the spirit, damage the emotions and lead men away from the truth that sets us free. This is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” How ironic that so many men and women who would never physically strike another person with their fists, are willing to cause even worse damage with their tongues. God gave us the power to choose our words, so, choose wisely, be a maker of peace.