March 5, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 15



Monte Holland

This is the fifteenth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

 To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 14

Today’s photographs feature the Jumonville Cross on the Chestnut Ridge between Unionville and Connellsville, PA.  To view click on:


The Sixth Commandment: 13Do not murder. Exodus 20:13

     Fathers and mothers are singled out for special response on our part, above and beyond our response to human beings in general, as we have just seen in the Fifth Commandment. However, God instructs us to respond positively to all persons because all persons are created in the image of God.

     Christians view each human being as having the breath of life in them that contains the image of God. Humans, unlike animals, have a special role in the world. Animals live by a built-in code of behavior we call “instinct,” and are apparently unaware of God the Creator. Humans are born with a spiritual aspect that makes them not only wonder about the Creator, but to desire fellowship with the Creator. Having God’s image within in us makes us want to know Him and be more like Him.

     On the other hand, it is hard to be like something you have never seen in the flesh.

     To make the job easier, Christians are able to look to Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came in the flesh. Since Jesus was in the flesh, he left a record of a perfectly-lived life that we can try to imitate. Thus, we look to Him for guidance in Godly living. Later on we will examine how his teachings guide us in Godly, moral living.

     The final six commandments guide us to being good stewards in our relationships with other human beings.

     The Sixth Commandment speaks directly to the fact humans are created in the image of God. Destroying a person who is created in God’s image, in a sense a part of God, is a very offensive act. It is, in essence, destroying God. Thus, behavior leading to destruction on a personal level is absolutely forbidden. To take a life is to interfere with the victim’s opportunity to build a good relationship with God and other humans—the stewardship that God expects of all of us. (A stable society requires that life be precious and not in constant threat of extinction on the whim of another—as we see later, Jesus expands this to teaching us to not even get angry with others.)

     How we treat killing in general is guided by the concept of stewardship (basically, everything we do is about stewardship). It is permissable to kill animals to protect ourselves from direct attack, to stop the spread of disease, or for food. Inhumane treatment and killing of animals is beyond good stewardship and is offensive to God. Capital punishment by the government (an organization in place to protect and foster the good of the community) is allowed in some societies, including the U. S. A. Whether this is good stewardship or not continues to be debated—is capital punishment necessary to discourage persons from killing other persons, or is imprisonment a better stewardship because it prevents the perpetrator from harming others and, in addition,because it gives the prisoner time to draw closer to a good relationship with God.

     Basically, individuals are denied the right to kill another person. However, this raises a question. Are we allowed to kill another to keep from being killed by that person? Laws allow self-defense killing if absolutely necessary. Living the Godly, moral life is not always simple, but this is a commandment that most of us are able to obey.

The Sixth Commandment: DO NOT MURDER.

Exercise 1: One common criticism of television and movies is that many program plots containing killing, and the killing is glorified. News programs often lead with drive-by shootings and other violent incidents. Do you believe this has changed our attitudes toward the Sixth Commandment?

Exercise 2: Explain why you oppose or favor capital punishment. Can we disagree on this matter and still remain faithful to the Ten Commandments?

Continue on to the next lesson on A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: 16 by clicking on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 16


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Monte and I welcome any comments you might have on the Lenten posts. Use the COMMENT box below to respond. For details on the COMMENT CONTEST click on:



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