Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our Sunday studies have...

been focused the last several months on 1 John 3 and an exposition of Deuteronomy 5:6-21 (Ten Commandments). Pastor was initially preaching through 1 John but came to a lengthy pause with chapter 3 and decided to show how each of the 10 Commandments applies to our lives today, in both the positive and negative consequences.

Coming off my own study of the life of Moses and the giving of the Law to Israel, the information and practical application has been great. Then, this summer I studied John and 1 John in preparation for teaching those books this year so the Sunday studies continue to be helpful.

Currently we're on the sixth commandment, "You shall not murder." At face value I took that commandment to mean "do not take another person's life". However, in-depth study of it has shown a truer fullness. Jesus in Matthew 5 gives the further application regarding how the intent of our hearts and thoughts in hating a person is murder. Another implication of the commandment is its meaning to one's own life. For example, there are numerous ways that a person can commit self-murder, not just suicide.

Given that God is the Creator of life, the Giver of life, and the Sustainer of life, it stands to reason that He requires of His people a particular respect towards, defense of, advocacy of and way of life to exemplify His full Word on life.

Pastor has additionally pointed out the positive implications required by a Christian to promote, protect, and preserve life. Scores of everyday truth flows off of those implications.

The one that struck me personally was this week's lesson on how excessive sorrow and grief are a breaking of the sixth commandment because it is a form of self-murder. Here are the points:

1. Excessive sorrow and grief incur the judgment of self-murder.

2. Excessive sorrow and grief are sin because the focus unhealthily becomes intensive focus on self.

3. One must understand the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow.

The sermon was not an indictment of those people who are grieving, but rather a reminder to all Christians that even grieving, as an emotion given by God, has a proper submission to the Word of God. We are not to grieve as the world does (1 Thess. 4:13).

After James died, I was arguably immersed in excessive sorrow and grief. I saw no way out of the black hole. I hated my life. I hated other people's lives. I was angry when someone else was happy. I was constantly angry. I was "murdering" myself and others daily in my heart and thoughts.

The only solution to the sin was the always solution to sin, confession and repentance. My life did not change until I confessed my excessive sorrow and grief and anger (because the first and second always lead to the third) and repented. I clearly remember the morning I woke up and no longer "felt" angry. The huge weight of sadness, and madness, had been lifted off.

It didn't mean that I no longer felt sad or cried about James' death. It didn't mean that I no longer became angry over the hand dealt to me. It did mean though that I was not trapped in those feelings. There was finally comfort in God's Word for me. I desired to receive His comfort and was able to know His peace. That was true life. From Him, to me.

You shall not murder. Even yourself with emotions.


  1. Thanks for sharing these thoughts Elle, I appreciated reading it all...

  2. Excellent post, Elle!

  3. Good stuff. I'm going through 1 John at night with Hubs right now. Hubs thinks John was a bit obtuse with all his wordage and fancy talk. This makes me laugh. It's like blasphemy to call one of the Biblical authors "obtuse" isn't it? He says, "The other gospels begin with a geneaology or something practical like 'Jesus was born.' John starts with something completely different: 'In the beginning was The Word...'"

    Guess he's got a point, but I'm still not certain if we may be struck by lightning in bed one night.

  4. I truly thank you for this post. I have been emotionally murdering myself for a lot of years now, but have especially done so for the past eight months. I would agree that there were times I was not been able to see out of the black hole and hated my life and was definitely angered when someone else was happy. But how wonderful, that I can confess my sin to my Lord and repent. I look forward to not feeling trapped anymore by these emotions by His grace and word. Blessings.