Respect the Gift of Life

Respect the Gift of Life

1. Who gave us life?

JEHOVAH “is the living God.” (Jeremiah 10:10) He is our Creator, and he has given us life. The Bible says: “You created all things, and because of your will they came into existence and were created.” (Revelation 4:11) Yes, Jehovah wanted us to have life. Life is a precious gift from him.​—Read Psalm 36:9.

2. How can we make a success of our life?

2 Jehovah gives us what we need to keep living, such as food and water. (Acts 17:28) But more than that, he wants us to enjoy life. (Acts 14:15-17) To be successful in life, we need to obey God’s laws.​—Isaiah 48:17, 18.


3. What did Jehovah do when Cain killed Abel?

3 The Bible teaches us that our life and the lives of other people are precious to Jehovah. For example, when Cain​—Adam and Eve’s son—​was very angry with his younger brother Abel, Jehovah warned Cain that he needed to control his anger. But Cain didn’t listen, and he became so angry that he “assaulted his brother Abel and killed him.” (Genesis 4:3-8) Jehovah punished Cain for murdering Abel. (Genesis 4:9-11) So anger and hatred are dangerous because they can make us become violent or cruel. A person who is like that cannot have everlasting life. (Read 1 John 3:15.) To please Jehovah, we must learn to love all people.​—1 John 3:11, 12.

4. What does one of the laws God gave to the Israelites teach us about the gift of life?

4 Thousands of years later, Jehovah showed that he viewed life as precious when he gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. One of the laws is: “You must not murder.” (Deuteronomy 5:17) If a person killed someone on purpose, he or she would be killed.

5. How does God feel about abortion?

5 How does God feel about abortion? Even the life of an unborn child is precious to Jehovah. In the Law Jehovah gave to the Israelites, Jehovah said that if someone injured a mother and her baby died because of this, the person would be killed. (Read Exodus 21:22, 23; Psalm 127:3.) This teaches us that abortion is wrong.​—See Endnote 28.

6, 7. How do we show Jehovah that we view life as precious?

6 How can we show Jehovah that we view our own life and the lives of others as precious? By not doing anything that will endanger our life or other people’s lives. So we will not use tobacco or betel nut or abuse drugs, because they harm us and may kill us.

7 God gave us our life and our body, and we should use them as he wants us to. So we need to take good care of our body. If we don’t, we will become unclean in God’s eyes. (Romans 6:19; 12:1; 2 Corinthians 7:1) We cannot worship Jehovah, who gave us life, if we do not view life as precious. Even though it may be very hard to stop bad habits, Jehovah will help us if we are making the effort because we view life as precious.

8. What will we do to make sure that we don’t endanger our own life or the lives of others?

8 We have learned that life is a precious gift. Jehovah trusts that we will do our best never to endanger our own life or the lives of others. We do this by the way we drive our car, motorbike, or other vehicle. We avoid dangerous or violent sports. (Psalm 11:5) We also do our best to make our home safe. Jehovah commanded the Israelites: “If you build a new house, you must also make a parapet [or, low wall] for your roof, so that you may not bring bloodguilt on your house because of someone falling from it.”​—Deuteronomy 22:8.

9. How should we treat animals?

9 Even the way we treat animals is important to Jehovah. He allows us to kill animals for food and for clothing, and he permits us to kill an animal if it threatens our life. (Genesis 3:21; 9:3; Exodus 21:28) But we cannot be cruel to animals or kill them just for sport.​—Proverbs 12:10.


10. How do we know that blood represents life?

10 Blood is holy to Jehovah because blood represents life. After Cain murdered Abel, Jehovah told Cain: “Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:10) Abel’s blood represented his life, and Jehovah punished Cain for killing Abel. After the Flood of Noah’s day, Jehovah again showed that blood represents life. Jehovah gave Noah and his family permission to eat the flesh of animals. He said: “Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for you. Just as I gave you the green vegetation, I give them all to you.” However, there was one thing that Jehovah commanded them not to eat: “Only flesh with its life​—its blood—​you must not eat.”​—Genesis 1:29; 9:3, 4.

11. What command about blood did God give to the nation of Israel?

11 About 800 years after Jehovah told Noah not to eat blood, he again commanded his people: “If one of the Israelites or some foreigner who is residing in your midst is hunting and catches a wild animal or a bird that may be eaten, he must pour its blood out and cover it with dust.” He then said: “You must not eat the blood.” (Leviticus 17:13, 14) Jehovah still wanted his people to view blood as holy. They could eat meat but not the blood. When they killed an animal for food, they had to pour its blood onto the ground.

12. How do Christians view blood?

12 Some years after Jesus’ death, the apostles and the elders in the Christian congregation in Jerusalem met to decide what parts of the Law given to the Israelites still applied to Christians. (Read Acts 15:28, 29; 21:25.) Jehovah helped them to understand that blood was still precious to him and that they still needed to view it as holy. The early Christians could not eat or drink blood or eat meat that had not been bled properly. If they did so, it was just as bad as worshipping idols or being sexually immoral. From that time onward, true Christians have refused to eat or drink blood. What about today? Jehovah still wants us to view blood as holy.

13. Why do Christians not accept blood transfusions?

13 Does this mean that Christians should also refuse blood transfusions? Yes, it does. Jehovah commanded us not to eat or drink blood. If a doctor told you not to drink alcohol, would you inject it into your body? Of course not! In the same way, the command not to eat or drink blood means that we would not accept a blood transfusion.​—See Endnote 29.

14, 15. How important is it for a Christian to respect life and obey Jehovah?

14 What if a doctor tells us that we will die if we do not have a blood transfusion? Each person must decide whether to obey God’s law on blood. Christians deeply respect God’s gift of life, and we will look for alternative treatments to keep living; but we will not accept a blood transfusion.

15 We try hard to keep healthy, but because life is precious to God, we will not accept a blood transfusion. It is more important to obey Jehovah than to try to extend our life by disobeying him. Jesus said: “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) We want to obey Jehovah because we love him. He knows what is best for us, and we view life as precious and holy, as Jehovah does.​—Hebrews 11:6.

16. Why do God’s servants obey him?

16 God’s faithful servants are determined to obey his law about blood. They will not eat or drink blood, and they will not accept blood for medical reasons. * However, they will accept other treatments in order to save their life. They are convinced that the Creator of life and blood knows what is best for them. Do you believe that he knows what is best for you?


17. In Israel, what was the only use of blood that Jehovah allowed?

17 In the Law that God gave to Moses, Jehovah told the Israelites: “The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have given it on the altar for you to make atonement [or, ask for forgiveness] for yourselves, because it is the blood that makes atonement.” (Leviticus 17:11) When the Israelites sinned, they could ask for Jehovah’s forgiveness by sacrificing an animal and asking the priest to pour some of its blood on the altar at the temple. This was the only way Jehovah allowed the Israelites to use blood.

18. What does Jesus’ sacrifice make possible for us?

18 When Jesus came to earth, he replaced the law on animal sacrifices by giving his life, or blood, for the forgiveness of our sins. (Matthew 20:28; Hebrews 10:1) Jesus’ life was so valuable that after Jehovah resurrected Jesus to heaven, Jehovah could give all humans the opportunity to live forever.​—John 3:16; Hebrews 9:11, 12; 1 Peter 1:18, 19.

How can you show respect for life and blood?

19. What must we do to be “clean from the blood of all men”?

19 We are grateful to Jehovah for his wonderful gift of life! And we want to tell people that if they have faith in Jesus, they can live forever. We love people, and we will do everything we can to teach them how to get life. (Ezekiel 3:17-21) Then, like the apostle Paul, we will be able to say: “I am clean from the blood of all men, for I have not held back from telling you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:26, 27) Yes, we show that we deeply respect life and blood when we tell others about Jehovah and how precious life is to him.

^ par. 16 For information about blood transfusions, see pages 77-79 of the book “Keep Yourselves in God’s Love,” published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.