Tuesday, August 26, 2008

4 Minute Devotions: Honor Killings

We're hearing more about "honor" killings these days, even in our own nation. Sadly, it's an act of fanaticism that has its roots in the Bible.

Podcast version here

Deuteronomy 13:9 You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people.

They call it “honor killing,” although there’s nothing honorable about it. Young girls in the Middle East who get caught in the wrong company, or young men who convert to another religion, are cast out by family members and sometimes killed. It’s a horrible way of expressing faith and sadly, it’s one that has its roots in the Bible.

People get fanatical about their faith in God and take it to the extreme, so that nothing stands between them and their devotion to their Deity. Their love becomes an irrational zeal and they become obsessed with serving God perfectly, purely, and persistently. If a family member ‘dishonors’ the family faith, they can be tortured, raped, imprisoned, and killed. It’s a horrible aspect of how faith can destroy believers. It’s a wicked way of serving God.

People expect Christians to be holy and perfect, instead of ordinary and sinful. We have no honor, save that of Christ alone. He is the Sacred One who does everything right. He is the Holy Son of God, who serves His Father faithfully, purely, and perfectly. The grace of Jesus allows us to be restored to God through Christ’s good and godly works. There’s nothing that we can do to shield us from God’s wrath. We can only stand behind Jesus and ask Him to make things right for us. His Death completely paid the price of our sins. In our faith, if ever there was an ‘honor killing,’ it took place at Calvary when Jesus went to the Cross on our behalf.

I wish that those other faiths in the world could put an end to these dishonorable killings, but this will only happen if we keep spreading the Gospel through our churches and in our communities. Christ can release them from the burden of their fanaticism. We need to lovingly bring His message of grace and honor to the world.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, there is a lot of injustice and wickedness in the world that is done in the name of religion. Help us, through Your grace, to present a loving witness to the world, so that other people may be attracted to Your words and ways. Grant us opportunities to confront fanaticism with peace, hope, and love. In Your Honorable Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, send him an email to pastor@erinpresbyterian.org.

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