Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Sixth Commandment

The following post is over two years old. I never had the courage to post it till tonight. Why tonight? Well it just seemed to be an appropriate time since the state of Georgia just minutes ago executed Troy Anthony Davis. I don't know if Troy Davis was guilty or not guilty. Can juries be wrong? Were they wrong in the case of O.J. Simpson? Were they wrong about Casey Anthony? What I do know is that now two people are dead--Troy Anthony Davis and Mark MacPhail (the police officer that Davis was found guilty of killing). Two families will mourn.

Does killing + killing ever equal peace? Perhaps so, I don't know. I've never had a family member murdered so I can't say for sure how I would feel. But I don't think that would bring me peace or resolution.

I wonder what Jesus would do. I wonder if He would inject the syringe full of potassium chloride into someone be they a murderer or not. And if Jesus would not then I have to ask myself would I? Could I? And should WE? I know...I wonder too much...

On this night, I offer peace and strength to the MacPhail and Davis families.

June 6th, 2010

Intense discussions within my family circle lately concerning the death penalty. No, no one in our family is on death row. Sometimes we just "talk" about things like this :)

And, as is usual, I'm in the minority. I am against it and my husband and others is for it. I'm also profoundly against abortion, if that scores me any points.

You see, I take the sixth commandment quite literally. "Thou Shalt Not Kill". Some that revere the King James version of the bible, and I am one that does, translate the word "kill" to "murder". Personally, I see no difference between being killed or murdered. Either way, one ends up grave yard dead.

I didn't always feel this way about the death penalty. So much of who and what I was changed when I had cancer. Staring the possibility of death in the face will do that to you. It changes you, softens and smooths your harsh, jagged edges. At least it did mine...most of them.

Who am I to take a life? Who am I to be judge and jury, deciding whether one might live or die? What are the events that happen in ones life that lead them to take someone else's life? Are monsters made or are they just born that way?

DH and I had an oh so deep conversation about this subject tonight. He quoted me all the scriptures that he believed supported his position and I quoted him all of the ones that supported mine. Might I add, my scriptures are written in red.

As a nurse, I've stood by the bedside of quite a few as they took their final breaths, when life left their body. The finality of it can be overwhelming. You wonder where that soul really went. Of a certainty, the opportunity to make any decision for Christ sake is forever over.

Our discussion was coming to a close when my husband offered one last statement. He said that he could NEVER, in good conscience, sit on a jury that was deciding a death penalty case. Said he would have to ask to be excused.

I smiled at him, and as softly and gently as I possibly could, asked him, "Why?"

He smiled back at me, walked across the room, and kissed me goodnight.

I'm still waiting for his answer.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Matthew 5:7 KJV)


Sheria said...

Debra, your words really speak to me. Thank you so much for commenting on my blog and leading me to yours.

Finding Pam said...

Debra, I am sorry for both families and it seems that no one wins. In the end, the only one that will judge us will be our Lord and Savior.

I struggle with taking another person's life. I do think some killers are so evil especially the child preditors that the World would be better off with them dead.

With crime being so rampant,I've often wondered what I would say to someone that was going to kill me. I would like say "I forgive you" right then and there. But in reality I am not sure.

jennifer said...

Beautiful words Debra. My husband and I were discussing this last night as well. We decided that it was easy for us to form opinions because we didn't have a family member who was killed by another and we didn't have a family member on death row awaiting execution. Your post brings our thoughts to a point - what about the commandment of God? I still don't know the answer but I do feel compassion for both families involved.

God bless you!

Sonja said...

Excellent post Debra! It brings so many pros and cons to mind on the whole thing. I had to smile at your hubby, who, like me... said he could never be the one who pulled the switch. Me either!

You have brought such good points to light here, struggles most probably try to figure out. I'm glad I am NOT the judge!!


Brenda said...

Good thoughts to ponder. I like what you said, though about your scriptures being in red!

Journaling Woman said...

I'm not against the death penalty, but I don't think it should be thrown at people easily.

Great post.

Susan said...

And the debate will go on and on and on. I don't think I can even think about it, since I've not been touched or effected by it on either side.....thank God. Losing our daughter to cancer was bad enough and it was easy to blame the devil and a disease without any quilt involved. I hope I'm making sense, but probably am not.

What so ever things are pure, what so ever things are good, I lean toward thinking on them. Of one thing I'm sure....there is a just judge and HIS name is the Triune God.

forsythia said...

I'm against the death penalty. We're one of the few countries in the world that still has it, and in this, we are joined by the Muslim countries. I'm of the "lock-the-door-and-throw-away-the-key" persuasion. The execution of a single innocent person ends any argument about the "rightness" of the death penalty, as far as I'm concerned.

john bord said...

In Revelations there is a death penalty and there was one in Numbers. The most horrendous death penalty was in Genesis. Yet there is the Grace of Christ, that the Christian walks with.

So do I walk with God or do I want to be a god and condemn?

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, Debra. The guards call it 'graduation day'. I learned that when I visited the Ellis Unit in Huntsville . . . a long time ago. Like your husband, i would have to ask to be excused.

Mimi said...

After watching the GREEN MILE years made me against it...because someone can be charged and NOT be the real culprit......even today with DNA I think murderers go free and the ones who did nothing get convicted. I think life in prison for some MASS murderers is to nice...however, We are Not God and I could not be a part of that.....
wow, that is tough.....
man I wish people were all nice...but then people killed in the
GOd Bless you,

mississippi artist said...

You are so right about both families losing. I don't think I would want the death penalty, but One never knows till they are in the same situation. I do know I am quick to judge and I pray about that often, as I cosider it a major sin. From what I have read I think there was enough doubt in this case that life in prison would have been better.

Colleen said...

Your post is very good. Right from the heart.
I am against the death penalty. I am against abortion. I am against all murder. God gave us life. Only God can take it away.
The death penalty has more to do with revenge than justice. And revenge does not heal anything. I can understand why a victim's family might want it and I would never judge them for wanting the death penalty.
I too pray for both families. God bless!

Buttercup said...

Hi Debra!

I'm happy to tell you that you are the winner of my blog giveaway with the Jan Karon audio book and a few little Christmas surprises. Please email me your address and last name and I will get to the post office in the next week. My email is

Grayquill said...

It is good you have struggled and came to a firm conviction. I more often than not make a decision on such things based on simplistic ideas and thoughts never to be considered again. But, of course all those simple minded conclusions do not require me to pull the lever. I do know, Bible or no Bible, society must set limits and boundaries and some must make judgments or there can be no safety. Good post.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm late on this one, but I've been really pondering it.
I don't know that I have a problem with the death penalty (although I am against it) as much as I do with our justice system. When the evidence is shown or withheld by gifted persuaders and a group of peers with emotions and fears and backgrounds are left to make a decision based only on what they've seen/heard - we see way too many guilty people go free and way too many innocent people jailed and sent to death.
I guess where I stand is on 1 Cor. 5:12. Who am I to judge those outside the church? I can't.
With that said, how can criminals face justice? I don't have that answer.