Read Deuteronomy 5:17
“You shall not murder. (NIV)
This all seems clear enough. We all know murder is wrong. But while this commandment is clear at the centre, it can appear murky around the fringes. How about these questions:
So many abortions happen routinely in our society: is the abortion of a foetus a breaking of this command? What about euthanasia, is ending a dying person’s suffering murder? If a soldier kills another soldier in war, does that soldier breach this command? If a bomb aimed at a military target actually kills civilians does that constitute murder?
If a civil law says execution is the punishment for a serious crime, does the state commit murder in carrying out the sentence? Some have even included suicide in the range of this command, seeing it as an illegitimate taking of life, even if it is one’s own.
This command is meant to safeguard the value of human life—that much seems clear. Yet those who advocate capital punishment or a so called ‘just war’, would claim that these actions also express value for the dignity of human life. Those advocating abortion offer argument about just what constitutes human life. And those supporters of euthanasia offer similar arguments.
So what seems obvious to some is not obvious to others. What perhaps we can all agree on is that human life matters. And to deliberately, with no just cause, wipe out another life out of anger or sheer ego is wrong in the sight of God who gave us life in the first place. In the end, we might all be against ‘murder’, but may not all agree on just what ‘murder’ might be.
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