I have been watching with concern and bemusement the attempts of our government to halt the execution of two Australians in Indonesia. My hope and prayer is that they succeed even though this seems very unlikely. However, this situation highlights the inconsistency of our society. While huge efforts are being put into saving these two, thousands of unborn children are murdered every year without the legal challenges and TV and newspaper headlines. The moral outrage at killing two Australians doesn’t match our government’s efforts with asylum seekers in detention.
The 6th Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” is a declaration of the importance and value of life. It reminds us that humanity was created in God’s image. In the words of John Donne, “Any man’s death diminishes me.” Human life is precious but governments and corporations have devalued them to “economic units”. Movie producers and and game designers have made death a form of entertainment. Even religions murder others to advance and justify their beliefs. Worse still, we have come to believe many of the corrupted messages that swirl around us today. In my naive and simple way I believe it is time to reclaim two truths: 1. Humanity was made in the image of God (a huge discussion just by itself!) and because of that, 2. Human life is precious. If we believed that passionately it would change the tenor of our discussions and behaviours. Our view of others would begin to change and our view of ourselves would change.
As a Christian I understand that only the Holy Spirit changes hearts but we have a challenge and responsibility to remind ourselves and the world what a gift life is.
I agree. Why is it that the competitive world pushes us into categorising other humans into those who are on our side or not, or sympathetic with my beliefs? Why do I seem to have a little more empathy for others now I’m older? Well, firstly, getting a long-term illness seems to have been key – I look around me at people who are worse off and see that they are suffering much more. I’m ashamed to say that I may not have given much time or thought to people like this in earlier years. Yet God loves them just as much as me.