Sixth: You shall not kill


Human life

Human life is a most precious gift from God who made us all and cares for us from the moment of our earliest existence, even before we were born, and all through our lives (see Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 22:9,10).  So human life should be protected and cared for at all stages, including unborn babies, disabled people, and elderly people. 


The Sixth Commandment is, “You shall not kill” (“You shall do no murder”).


To murder someone means to kill them unlawfully, with ill-will and on purpose – a very serious sin.  It is sometimes allowable to kill another, and in that case it is not murder.  For example, a soldier fighting for his country is not guilty of murder if he kills one of the enemy.  It is also permissible to kill another person if one believes that that is the only way to stop him or her from killing oneself, in which case one does not commit murder.  But it would be murder if one’s own life was not in danger.  So if a burglar broke into a house, the householder would be guilty of murder if he or she deliberately killed the burglar merely in order to stop the burglar escaping with the loot.  And even if the burglar actually attacked the householder, the householder must only use reasonable force in defence.

To murder, then, means to kill another person unlawfully, with ill-will against that person, and on purpose – not accidentally.

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