The Sixth Commandment
- What is the Sixth Commandment?
The Sixth Commandment is: “You shall not murder.”
- What does it mean not to murder?
Since God declares human life sacred from conception to natural death, I may not take the life of neighbors unjustly, bear them malice in my heart, or harm them by word or deed; rather, I should seek to cause their lives to flourish. (Genesis 9:6; Leviticus 19:16; Deuteronomy 19:4-7)
- How did Christ cause life to flourish?
Jesus sought the well-being of all who came to him: he made the blind see and the deaf hear, caused the lame to walk, cured the sick, fed the hungry, cast out demons, raised the dead, and preached good news to all. (Luke 4:17-21; Matthew 14:13-21, 34-36)
- How did Jesus extend the law against murder?
Jesus equated unjust anger with murder. (Matthew 5:21-22; 1 John 3:15)
- Is your anger always sinful, or can it be just?
Anger can be just if I am motivated not by fear, pride, or revenge, but purely by love for God’s honor and my neighbor’s well-being. More often than not, however, human anger is sinful. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
- What other actions may be considered forms of murder?
Suicide, abortion, genocide, infanticide, and euthanasia are forms of murder. Related sins include abuse, abandonment, recklessness, and hatred or derision.
- Is it always wrong to harm or kill another?
There are rare times when the claims of justice, mercy, and life itself may require doing harm or even bringing death to others. It is the particular task of government to do this in society. (Romans 13:1-4)
- How else can you cause life to flourish?
As a witness to the Gospel, I can love God and my neighbor by refraining from selfish anger, insults, and cursing, by defending the helpless and unborn, by rescuing those who damage themselves, and by helping others to prosper. (Matthew 5:38-48; 9:35-38; Luke 23:34; Acts 10:34-42; Ephesians 4:25-32; 5:1-2)