I think we heard a murder happen outside our bedroom window the other night.
Okay, maybe we didn't realize it was a murder at the time. It was about eleven o'clock and Gary and I heard a dog right outside our bedroom window. He barked, whined, growled, and sounded like he was crashing around in the snow next to our porch. I had been sleeping for a while before this and it kind of freaked me out. I had to get up and go investigate. I stood by our back door and peered out into the darkness, but I didn't hear the dog anymore and I was scared to open the door, so I let it go and went back to bed. I lay there for a while, trying to figure out why a dog would be acting so strangely right next to our house.
When I went outside the next morning, it all became a little clearer. There were specks of blood all over the place starting by our porch and even going out onto the driveway a little. Now it made sense. We never found a carcass, but we figure a poor little rabbit may have been murdered while we tried to sleep.
For the next couple of days I saw those specks of blood every time I went out somewhere and came back home. I wondered if the blood belonged to a rabbit or if some animal had scratched at that crazy dog and the dog had bled all over as it ran away. I really don't know what happened because I didn't see it. I can only guess, but evidence of the violence is right there for everyone to see.
It got me thinking about murder, especially after we had youth group on Wednesday night and Gary used this passage:
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." (Matthew 5:21-22 NIV)
I'm so thankful for God's grace, because I have to admit, I've been angry and called people some nasty names at times. Usually it was not to their face, but I have a feeling God doesn't even want us calling them 'You fool!' when we're driving down the road or recalling a situation when we're alone at home.
Sometimes we snarl and bark and crash around in our anger against another person, and someone gets hurt. It may be the other person and/or it may be us, but the evidence is there for everyone to see. Other people may not know exactly what happened in a certain situation, but they can tell that damage has been done. Maybe the other person is resentful toward us and starts telling people about how cruel we are. Maybe we got hurt in the situation and our bitterness and anger affect how we relate to other people. They don't know what's wrong with us, but the damage is obvious.
Think about that the next time you hear the command "Do not murder." God doesn't want us to just refrain from literally taking someone's life. He wants us to show love for others, even our enemies.
Dogs can't help it if they chase rabbits (and sometimes catch them), but we are humans. We can choose to love instead of murdering our fellow human beings.
Have you ever "murdered" someone? How can focusing on God help you to show love to others, even your enemies?