{Lessons Learned} Can a Christian Commit Murder?

Posted on: April 15th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 1 Comment

Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children. – Deuteronomy 4:9

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Anthony claimed he was a Christian at the time of the murder, and I had a real problem with this. As a non-Christian and even after coming to Christ, I didn’t understand how someone who professed faith in Jesus could do something like this. Doesn’t a sin of this magnitude disqualify you from being a Christian?

You can’t claim to be a Christian and commit murder, I thought.

Recently, however, when telling me about a book he was reading by Kyle Idleman called Not a Fan, Anthony said,

“I wonder, had I not come to prison would I have stayed a fan of Jesus or become a follower? I knew Him. I went to Bible studies. I read my Bible daily, but I didn’t let him into every dark corner of my heart. I was not a follower. Now, I truly follow Him. But this book is an eye-opener.”

Anthony went to church faithfully before he committed the murder. As he said, he went to Bible studies. He read his Bible daily. He knew Jesus.

When I began to correspond with Anthony, I met with my pastor and asked him, “Is it possible for a Christian to commit murder?”

My pastor’s response? Absolutely. It is possible.

I wrestled with this issue for quite some time, but ultimately I saw that my pastor was right. One profound example of this can be found in the story of David. David was chosen, used mightily, and was called a man after God’s own heart both before and after he had Bathsheba’s husband killed. David was in a covenantal relationship with God––the equivalent of being a Christ follower today––yet he sinned greatly.

Now, I don’t know whether or not Anthony’s relationship with Jesus was authentic when he killed my dad, but it could have been. And honestly, this truth scares me, as it should all of us.

We must guard our hearts. 

You see, we’re all prone to folly. We’re all prone to sin. And sin can creep in before we know it.

In one of my letters to Anthony, I said, “…you still cultivated the emotions and feeling that lead you astray. You still allowed your soul to be poisoned with hatred which ultimately lead to your actions.”

In response, Anthony said:

I may have cultivated the emotions that led me to be poisoned. But not hate, anger yes but I didn’t hate your dad. I did not go over to your dads house to kill him, to threaten and scare, yes. But having that anger in my heart opened me up to the possibility of something bad and as we know bad happened. – Anthony, November 2010

All throughout the book of Deuteronomy, God tells us to watch ourselves. Over and over again He says, “Take care, lest your heart be deceived” (Deuteronomy 11:16), “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 8:11), “Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 4:23).

1 Peter 5:8 tells us to “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Paul exhorts Timothy to “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).

Considering Anthony’s testimony and reading through each of these scriptures, this much is clear: we must guard our hearts to assure we don’t cultivate an environment for sin to grow. For, we can be led astray quickly.

{Guard your heart. Don’t allow sin to creep in.} [tweet that]

Question: What are your thoughts? How do you guard your heart or keep watch on yourself? Share in the comments