Beckett: “You Shall Not Murder”

What does this mean? “We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbour in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.”

This is the first Commandment where pride seeps in and we deceive ourselves, “Ah, a Commandment I have kept! For I have not murdered anybody!” Time to burst your bubble and hurt your feelings: if you support a woman’s so-called “right” to murder her unborn baby, you are a murderer as well. For if we truly loved that defenceless neighbour of ours, we would “help and support him [or her] in every physical need.” But we don’t, because we fear hurting the mother’s feelings more than we fear the wrath of God for permitting such violence in the womb to take place. We shrink back in our moral cowardice and allow anyone’s hands—physician or no—to penetrate the safest place on earth for a baby and to literally tear him or her apart.

Besides this, we are all murderers. Even if you’re pro-life, do not fool yourself into thinking you’ve kept this Commandment either. “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). To protect the gift of life, therefore, God forbids not only the physical, unjust taking of a life, but in this Commandment He also “wishes to remove the root and source that embitters our heart toward our neighbour,” which is hatred (LC I, 187).

It is easier to hate our neighbour than it is to love them, especially those with whom we disagree. This becomes quite evident whenever politics or moral issues like above are discussed. You, O reader mine, may be angry with me, and perhaps hate me, for what I said about pro-abortionists. That’s fine; I can take it. But I shall not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.

Yet here is the Good News: Jesus chose to love His enemies—He chose to love you. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). Or as John continues, “By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16).


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