What does the Bible say about “mercy killing”?

“Euthanasia” and “doctor-assisted suicide” are two other terms by which mercy killing is known today. It is the act or practice of ending (by lethal injection or suspension of medical treatment) the life of a person suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition.

This subject has received more attention in recent years. Certain organizations and groups are fighting for individual rights to end one’s life—given certain circumstances.

We need to look into the Bible to see what God says about mercy killing. God has always intended for humans to live fulfilling lives, with the final goal to have eternal life in His kingdom. “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (III John 2).

God is the giver of life! “For with You is the foundation of life” (Psa. 36:9). Thus God alone has the right to authorize the taking of a life. He does allow this world’s governments (Rom. 13) to put to death those who commit heinous crimes, but He does not grant the right to put someone to death because of disease, sickness or old age. In fact, God’s Word tells us to care for the weak among us! “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men (I Thes. 5:14).

There are also times in which prolonging a person’s life goes contrary to the Bible example. Modern medicine is able to keep an individual alive almost indefinitely. However, this is not life—it is prolonging death! Examples from the Bible show that when the righteous knew they were going to die, they would gather their families and say goodbye. Asking God to end the life of one who is suffering—death being imminent—is not wrong!