Amanda Blackburn was murdered in her own home in a botched burglary attempt on the morning of November 10. She was a pastor’s wife pregnant with their second child. Eighteen-year old Larry Taylor has been charged with her murder. Her blood is on his hands. Authorities are deciding how to proceed and have not ruled out the death penalty.
Bloodguilt is a serious charge. It would be easy to distance ourselves from such a heinous crime. But the Bible says a great deal about bloodguilt, and it does not simply describe a violent criminal who takes a weapon and kills someone.
The prophet Ezekiel was given a message for the sinful people of Israel. They were heading down a destructive path. If they persisted in their rebellion, they would bear the guilt of their own sin. But if Ezekiel failed to warn them, he would share in their guilt (Ezek. 33:8). He would have their blood on his hands.
The apostle Paul was also conscious of this. He knew that if he did not share the gospel with the nations, he would have their blood on his hands (Acts 18:6; 20:26). J.D. Greear recently wrote, “It is true that God does not need us. But when he gives us an assignment or an opportunity, and we fail to take it, we become responsible for those whose ‘blood’ we could have saved through our obedience.”
Is it possible that someone’s blood is on your hands? Is there a child that you have failed to restrain? Is there an unbelieving coworker or family member that you have never talked with about Christ? Is there a rebellious brother or sister that you have never warned? May God help us to be innocent of the blood of all men.