First and foremost, my most sincere condolences to the family & friends of the young men who were murdered at the University of Virginia. I have prayed for them, and I plan to continue praying for all of those who are connected to the latest tragedy of mass murder, which also includes the murderer and his family & friends.
Unfortunately, very often after mass murders, we almost immediately see interviews from mothers (especially), and also other family members, who are likely still in shock and the early stages of the grief cycle. Furthermore, the interviews often end with a mention (often prompted by the interviewer), to forgive the murderer. Press play to sadly see it for yourself in the video below:
I talked about the biblical response to murder before, in other blogs like this one below:
But let us look in the Scriptures to see how we are supposed to respond to this kind of murder. Let us always remember, Scripture instructs us how we are to live in all matters, so if we say that we believe in The Bible, if we say we love & follow Christ (who is the Word made flesh according to John 1:14), then let us see if the Word says that we as Israelites, are supposed to forgive the murderers of our family members or not. First, let us review a foundational commandment before we move any further:
That’s the command, plain & simple. Now, let’s see what happens when that command is broken.
Killings happen… Murders happen, but the intent prior to death, differentiates how we are instructed to respond, according to The Bible. Let’s look at the lawful, pre-trail protections for murderers first:
“designate cities of refuge to which people can flee if they have killed someone accidentally. These cities will be places of protection from a dead person’s relatives (kinsman redeemers) who want to avenge the death. The slayer must not be put to death before being tried by the community. Designate six cities of refuge for yourselves, three on the east side of the Jordan River and three on the west in the land of Canaan. These cities are for the protection of Israelites, foreigners living among you, and traveling merchants. Anyone who accidentally kills someone may flee there for safety.”Numbers 35:11-15 NLT
So, family, we are not supposed to be lawless vigilantes, killing those who have killed our family members, when & how we see fit. We aren’t supposed to be operating in some heathen-style Wild Wild West, or hood-style street-level of justice. No matter how we feel, we are not supposed to be a people who avenge/redeem our murdered family members, by killing the murderers without investigation, trial, and guilty verdicts. We have instructions (Torah), and we were made ignorant of the Torah for far too long, but we can read & learn it for ourselves today. Let’s continue the review the instructions of our righteous laws which we were given:
“But if someone strikes and kills another person with a piece of iron, it is murder, and the murderer must be executed. Or if someone with a stone in his hand strikes and kills another person, it is murder, and the murderer must be put to death. Or if someone strikes and kills another person with a wooden object, it is murder, and the murderer must be put to death. The victim’s nearest relative IS responsible for putting the murderer to death. When they meet, the avenger must put the murderer to death. So if someone hates another person and waits in ambush, then pushes him or throws something at him and he dies, it is murder. Or if someone hates another person and hits him with a fist and he dies, it is murder. In such cases, the avenger must put the murderer to death when they meet.”Numbers 35:16-21 NLT
So, if someone hates someone and kills them, it is murder. We all understand that right? What about this question: Should the family of the murdered, forgive the murderer, or require only imprisonment or the penalty of death for the murderer? Read the last line from the passage of Torah above once again. Yes… That’s right, there should be NO forgiveness for murderers, only death sentences, that’s what true justice looks like. Now, I encourage you to read the entire chapter for yourself, especially paying attention to verses 22-28 to see the “prison sentence instructions” for those who are guilty and convicted of manslaughter/unplanned or accidental killing, as opposed to convicted murder. Again, we are not instructed to sentence murderers to life imprisonment, we are instructed to execute murderers:
You might be thinking, “Don’t the Scriptures tell us to forgive our enemies?” Yes indeed, but in the case of murder, tell me where you saw a command to forgive & imprison those who are guilty of murder?…. You don’t. So, why are we commanded to execute murderers and not forgive them? All we have to do is continue reading for that answer:
I know, I know… We do not live in our own land right now family, and we don’t have any power over the laws of these lands which we find ourselves in today, yet still, we can see the righteous justice in these laws from Torah… That and, we have this verse too🤓:
So what can our mothers do? What can we do if someone murders one of our family members? Should we simply continue to forgive them or force ourselves to say that we forgive them? No. We need to stop conforming to the ways of this nation/world; we do not need to stay weighed down & shackled to the ideal of holiness by carrying burdens to forgive the murderers of our sons & daughters. Instead, we should obey Our Father and demand death penalty sentences for those who murder. Anything less, is a violation/transgression/breaking of the righteous law of Our Father in heaven, which is sin according to 1st John 3:4. Meditate on that.
Family, as we continue to pray for all of those who are affected by this tragedy (and so many more terrible murders like this), let us always pray for the hearts of the families. Pray, asking our Father (if it is in His will), to free our people from the burden & pressure of feeling like they are wrong for desiring justice & redemption, we know they do not want to want to simply forgive the murderers of their family members and move on, they want and deserve justice. There is freedom in knowing truth & justice, and our people have not been taught the ways of Our Father for a long time, but we are awakening as a people to the truth of Scripture and we are repenting/coming back to His instructions/Torah—HalleluYAH! Pray for your family Zion, we are in this thang together. Lastly, know & remember that Our Father YAH will hear our prayers and He will respond only when we obey His instructions.
Until next time, shalom ✌🏾
Update: Check out these two pertinent scenarios, and consider for yourself: is it justice over feelings, or feelings over justice? The first is from today’s news.
That case above, is referenced in this case below. Check out the headline, read the full article, see the family’s reasoning at the end, and then compare & contrast how they think YAH feels about justice for convicted & confessed murderers vs. what YAH’s Word says is justice for convicted murderers.
Meditate on Proverbs 28:17
6 thoughts on “How do you forgive a murderer, according to The Bible? You don’t.”
I liked your article on murder. It brings a question to mind.
Since Israel is in the land of their captivity still, and they’re told to uphold the law regarding murder. How does the one that can avenge the murderer do that without getting thrown into prison themselves?
Should that person ask Yah to do it for them?
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I have just read your comment after I posted two cases at the bottom of the blog, which pertain to your thought-provoking comment & question. In those referenced cases, after the murderers went through trials & appeals and were still found guilty of and confessed to murder, jurors in one case and the family in the other case, opposed the execution of the murderer. It’s not an easy task to carry out execution, it’s not easy to kill, even when it comes to killing murderers. And still, you will read in the second article this:
“Each member of the Hall family said their feelings towards James have evolved over time.
Helvetius said that if he’d seen Joe Nathan James the night he murdered Faith Hall, he may have killed him.
“But God was in me,” he said. “And I thank him for it.”
Toni and Terryln both said that for a while, they hated Joe Nathan James.”
They say their feelings evolved from wanting him dead and hating him to this:
““I forgive him,” Terryln said. “But I’ll never forget what he did to us.”
Toni echoed her sister.
“I couldn’t walk around with hate in my heart,” she said.”
They are still hurting more than they know, because of injustice, and yes, executing their family’s murderer won’t bring her back, but their feelings that execution is not what YAH commands is a burden that they are carrying unnecessarily.
All that being said, I’ll answer your questions as if they were dealing with me and a murderer of my family. How can I avenge my family? In court and afterward, if the murderer received a guilty conviction, I would be the first person heard requesting the death penalty. And yes, I would ask YAH first and foremost to guard my heart, especially in obedience to Torah. I certainly wouldn’t say “give him/her a life sentence instead of execution for the confessed murder of my love one” as we far too often witness.
Well, that’s probably more than enough from me… I’m curious, what do you think about it?
Thanks for responding to my thoughts.
What I think is: I would agree with you that being the first to want the death penalty for the murder is correct since Israelites can’t take the matter in their own hands, still living in their captors nation.
I feel that it’s obeying Torah to ask for the death sentence, but it’s not vengeful, it’s obedience, vengeance is Yahs.
I still think that forgiveness is important. After all what if the murder ended up truly repenting, was called by Yah.
Anyway maybe I’m off on this and if so help me to learn! 😊
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Oh ok, I hear you, and todah for sharing your thoughts.
If a murderer is remorseful and they apologize, the family shouldn’t be vengeful towards them, as you said, that is one thing; meanwhile forgiving/pardoning a murderer is something else all together.
Consider again the command in Numbers 35:31, to not accept a ransom/the price of a life from a murderer, where the word for ransom is kopher H3724 https://biblehub.com/hebrew/3724.htm
We do not read a command to forgive/pardon (salach H5545) murder after trial https://biblehub.com/hebrew/5545.htm
We can salach the sins of things which we can receive restitution for, but there are some transgressions like murder or adultery, as opposed to theft or property damage which have other laws, see Proverbs 6:23-35 and Exodus 22:1-17.
So, if a convicted murderer repents and learns to obey YAH—HalleluYAH! Still, it would be wise for the murderer to stay far from the kinsman redeemer, because the command stands: “The victim’s nearest relative is responsible for putting the murderer to death. When they meet, the avenger must put the murderer to death.”
Numbers 35:19 NLT
Todah for the comments.
We’ll said Yahrahn. Thank you for this. I have learned (more about Torah) from your blog and thoughts.
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All praises to The Most High YAH! We are learning together, and thanks again for the dialog.