1998-02-17 - Civilized to Death

Proverbs 24:11,12 Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, O hold back. If you say, See, we did not know this. Does He not consider who weighs the hearts? And does He not know who keeps your soul? And will He not render to a man according to his work?
Throughout church history these two verses have been used to further explain what is meant in the sixth commandment, Exodus 20:13. The sixth commandment requires us to take all lawful measures to preserve our own life and forbids the unlawful taking of our own life or the life of our neighbor.

Matthew 16:25 reminds us, "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it." This is not to be taken in a Kavorkian manner. The issue in mind here is the subjecting of all aspects of our life to the will and wisdom of Christ. Seeking our will over Christs' will is the loss of life, but taking care of our health and life for the sake of Christ and His cause is finding life. As De Witt says, "Be careful about your health, but be careless about your life."

Neither these two verses in Proverbs nor the sixth commandment forbid the right and duty of self defense. In fact just war is not forbidden, but rather sanctioned here. A civilized nation protects the life, liberty, and property of its citizens. At the same time rulers and citizens should remember the words of Edmond Burke, "The blood of one man should never be shed, but to redeem the blood of man. It is well shed for our family, for our friends, for our God, for our country; the rest is vanity: the rest is crime."

As we teeter on the brink of war in the United States and face the reality of our nation slaughtering innocent people who have been located around "strategic targets", there exists no easy answer to the question, "what is right?" To allow a continued build up of biological weapons probably only means that other innocents will eventually die from them. Bunkers that are packed with civilians is certainly not protecting the innocent. I'm glad the decision is not mine to make, because there is no clear and cut decision.

As the verse in Proverbs says, our nation can not say, "we did not know this". However, we may be able to say, "We did not know what to do about this". It appears that what we are called upon to do as Christians and people of God's earth is to pray for God's will to be done and that the leaders who make such decisions act and judge wisely.

"Oh for a mountain to pray on, thou criest, high and inaccessible, that I may be nearer to God, and God may hear me better, for He dwelleth on high. Yes, God dwelleth on high, but He hath respect unto the humble!" Augustine

Soli Deo Gloria,