Why Capital Punishment is Good

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In Christian life, we are given the moral example of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not only our savior of sin, but also our template for living an ethical life. Jesus teaches us that the dilemmas we face in our everyday lives are solved through his several teachings explained in the New Testament. Jesus built his teachings off of love and wisdom gained from his time in both heaven and Earth. Jesus gives us his moral standards during the Sermon on the Mount; his sermon explains how we are to live our life and also takes ups arms against specific problems he sees in the world. The Sermon on the Mount, along with examples in the Gospel of John show us how to live a life of morality. The ideas of murder, adultery, and capital punishment connect with the broader theme of Jesus’ teachings on morality, what is ethical, and how we can better learn from it.

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The Sermon on the Mount gives us various examples of moral guidelines. In Matthew 5: 21-26, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” In this passage, Jesus teaches us about anger and how to regard others with anger. He tells us to let go of anger that leads to murder and self righteousness. This is one of the first times Jesus mentions murder within the New Testament. We are taught to let go of the anger shown throughout our world and take on a charisma of love and patience with those who spite us. This connects with Jesus’ golden rule. Jesus encourages us to treat others as we would like to be treated by others. This connects with morality because Jesus is telling us to regard others as we want to be regarded, Jesus explains this in unison with all of his other moral teachings. As said in the commandments, we are not to kill; as it goes against the golden rule and also Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness rather than anger. On the mount, Jesus also gives us a moral code on adultery. In Matthew 5: 27-30, Jesus explains, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” Jesus is telling us that adultery is lustful and leads us to hell, his strong diction about cutting out the part that leads you to sin leads us to the conclusion that we have to fully eliminate the people or things that cause us to sin in our life.

To follow Jesus’ rule we must first take on his example, we must show that we are a part of Jesus’ plan and imitate his love for the world. God gives us moral guidelines through Jesus to show us how to live in his image. Following Jesus’ moral teachings is a crucial component in our Christian experiences. However, we must learn not to judge those who may not follow Jesus’ teachings. John 8: 7-8, tells the story of an adulterer brought to the Pharisees to condemn her. Jesus bends down and begins to write in the mud, when questioned about his actions, Jesus prompts the spectators to throw stones only if they are sinless. Through this narrative, we are shown that God does forgive sins of morality. This also exemplifies that we are in no place to judge others for their sinful nature. Alan Watson explains that we are far from being perfect. Although Jesus forbade divorce within scripture, he was still forgiving of the adulterer. Human nature tempts us to sin, John’s Gospel explains that we are not to condemn others for sin unless we are sinless ourselves. Watson’s explanation of this narrative explains the concept of divorce and how it was regarded in Jesus’ era. Despite the woman’s sinfulness, Jesus forgave and let her continue on to a new life without sin. Going even further to explain that it is not in our place to judge those around us for their ethical or unethical choices.

Jesus does not only teach about the morality of murder and adultery, his scripture can also be connected to what we focus on today in the modern world. Capital punishment is the supreme sentence for crimes committed. We are taught through God’s word to never kill. Yet in the present, we see criminals being ruthlessly killed for their crimes. Are we not any different when we allow them to be killed? Capital punishment only encourages Americans to be criminals in their own individualistic ways. As we advocate for capital punishment, we advocate for another murder of one of God’s children. The bible does not directly address this problem, however Romans explains the impropriety of capital punishment. Romans 13: 1-4 states, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.” This passage explains that we are to follow those who govern us, but they should not instill fear into us. When the government instills fear into its people, it takes on the position of the devil’s advocate and condemns its citizens for crimes only punishable by God.

Joseph Weiler explains the idea of capital punishment in connection with the bible. Weiler discusses the idea of Jesus being on death row for his believed sins of preaching blasphemy. In the course of history, shown through the crucifixion of Jesus, people often believed that they could control who should be punished. This belief is similar to modernized beliefs about capital punishment. However, it is not in our place to judge sin. To put it simply, we are all sinners and have no right to condemn those who have sinned. Ethically, murder and other crimes are immoral, however capital punishment is only feeding into the idea of murder, making it unethical and wrong. Jesus does not directly state many of his moral teachings but offers some insight into them through his several lessons taught in scripture.

Throughout our lives, we often find ourselves questioning what is right versus what is wrong. Jesus offers a scriptural insight into how we should behave and how it affects our moral codes. As outlined above, moral issues such as murder, adultery, and capital punishment are performed daily. As humans, we often have no answers or proper punishment to discipline wrongdoings. It is all too frequent that we find ourselves playing gods. Jesus gives us moral codes to follow to teach us to look past the violence and ignorance of the world and look towards how to move past the sin of the world. Jesus’ teachings on morality give us an example to stay away from all while teaching us to have acceptance for those who sin because we are sinners as well. 

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Why Capital Punishment is Good. (2021, Apr 23). Retrieved November 30, 2022 , from
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