13 Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.Deuteronomy 19:13
This particular verse is referencing the person that has been guilty of murder, has fled to a city of refuge, has been investigated by officials in that city and found guilty. There are three components to this verse.
- They should not pity him. Why? He is guilty. He has brought this consequence on himself. It may seem natural to pity a person who has been sentenced to death because of murder, but if they are guilty the city must go through with its responsibility to hand out justice. This is the role of government.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.Romans 13:3-4
- They should do justly. In this context it means they should hand him over to the person who is executing justice in his case. When it comes to human life, God values it so highly that he must punish evil doers that take life.
- Blessing from God is at stake. He says that they should do the first two components of this verse “that it may go well with thee.” God will not continue to bless a people who is being unjust in how they handle human life.
A Civic Application
We live in a country where we as citizens get a personal say and have a personal stake in the way that the country is governed. As believers we should take that stewardship seriously. Justice for human life, for the unborn, for the most vulnerable among us, should be a top priority for us in the voting booth. Treating the poor with dignity and helping them to have ways to live and take care of themselves where possible should be of utmost importance to us. We should do justly in our civic activity.
A Personal Application
An appropriate verse here is Micah 6:8 which says,
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?Micah 6:8
There is a tension between doing justly and loving mercy. There is a place for both. Walking humbly with God is key for making sure that justice and mercy both exist in our lives.
What is a way that you can make a difference in the community when it comes to this issue of the sanctity of human life?