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Saturday, July 30, 2011

7/31/11 The Positive Side of "Do not Kill"

A word to live by: 6th commandment "Do not kill."
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD. (Isaiah 65:26)

Paul said, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!" [To the Philippian Jailer about to kill himself thinking his prisoners had escaped in an earthquake]. (Acts 16:28)

10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited. 7 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

(Boy Scout Helping Little Old Lady Across the Street- image in Punch 1909 of scout helping Brittania)

Thoughts: There are a couple of positive sides to this 6th commandment: Do not kill.  Calvin always looked deeper into the negative commandment for a positive thing to do.  The command was not just about avoiding evil, but implied how we should do good.  The Westminster shorter catechism says that the positive requirement is to "preserve our life and the life of others."  It is not enough to refrain from killing (not enough to "live and let live"), but we should also seek to preserve the life of others.  This opens up a whole new ball of wax.  But this also gives us a huge task in helping the hungry, teaching hygiene, working with medical clinics among the poor.  This means caring for our neighbor even if it risks them saying that we are "butting into their business."  When someone goes out to far into the ocean- we should not be afraid to call them back.  When a neighbor cannot get to the grocery store because of surgery, we should be the first to offer to help. 
   Other theologians speak of not doing the dangerous, life threatening things as implied in this command.  But the other part also is implied- that we shouldn't live cooped up in fear and worry so that we do not live.  Christians have less reason to be afraid of death than anything.  For as horrible as murder is, it is not the end of life.  This is shown in Christ who was murdered because of false accusations, yet rose to show us that even murder has not the last word. Christians are called to not fear death as the heathen do, but to live meaningful, purposeful, fearless lives. 
Prayer: Lord, keep anger from welling up inside of me.  Instead, help me to honor you by seeking to preserve life and also living my life to the fullest today.

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