This is lesson #7 in our curriculum called “God’s Good Rules” that helps children study the Ten Commandments. This lesson will explain the meaning behind “Do not murder” and how God wants us to value life. Download the complete printable lesson plan below. See all the lessons and find bonus learning activities on the series page: God’s Good Rules – A Study for Children on the 10 Commandments.
“Value Life” Lesson #7 in the God’s Good Rules Series
Bible Curriculum for Kids on the 10 Commandments
Main idea: Since Jesus died for us all, we value everyone’s life.
Supplies Needed: Gather: Bible; dry erase markers or chart paper and markers; Ten Commandments Coloring Page 6th Commandment; Kindness Notes Craft (included in download above); scissors; several small buckets; balled up socks or balls of paper; coloring supplies. For bonus ideas, see all our resources for teaching the 10 Commandments to Kids
Bible Memory Verses:
Psalm 119:1-2 “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.”
- Exodus 20:13
- Matthew 5:21-22
- Genesis 1:27
- Jeremiah 17:10a
- 1 John 3:15
- Ephesians 4:26-27
- John 3:16
- Galatians 5:22-23
More 10 Commandment Learning & Activities
- See our printable 10 commandments for kids version
- Compare our single Ten Commandment Sunday School Lesson
- Compare our single Preschool Bible Lesson on the Ten Commandments
- Moses and the Law of 10 Commandments (preschool coloring page)
- PDF Worksheets on the 10 Commandments
- Commandments Preschool Booklet [pdf] and Mini Book [pdf]
- Moses Songs for Preschoolers
- Go Fish Guys sing the 10 Commandment Song
- See the 10 Commandments for Kids on Sunday School Works
Teacher Preparation & Devotion
Read Scripture references, Genesis 4:1-16, Proverbs 21:2, and Romans 12:10
Take time to meditate on
this week’s Scripture and think about your own life. It can be easy to glance
over this commandment, knowing that we won’t murder anyone and that we don’t
really hate people. However, I encourage you this week to consider other ways
you have sinned against this command, even by omission. Is there any way you
have neglected to value life? I confess that I broke this command as I wrote
this lesson. I lost my temper at my son for interrupting me again. I snapped at
him, showing that I valued him less than writing this lesson at that moment.
Are there any subtle ways your thoughts or actions have dishonored life?
Neglecting those in need, ignoring or encouraging unhealthy habits, or
harboring racist or demeaning thoughts? Take time this week to pray for God to
reveal any ways you may not be keeping this command, and for his strength to
repent and change your ways.
Lesson Introduction Game: Bucket Head
In this game, three or four (or so, depending on your class size), students will start by holding buckets on their heads while their classmates try to toss balled up socks or crumpled balls of paper into the buckets. The bucket heads may not move!
Assign each bucket head a point value by taping a sheet of paper with a number written on it to their chest. Have the values be different. For example, making a ball into Sally’s bucket is worth ten points, but Carter’s is worth 100 points. Have the throwing students go one at a time. Give them three balls to toss and tally their points on the board. The player with the most points, wins!
Have students take turns
being the bucket heads. When you are explaining how to play to your students,
refer to the bucket heads as worth however many points by saying things like,
“Carter is worth 100 points, but Sally is worth only ten.” Using language to
assign points to the people rather than the buckets ties into our lesson.
Bible Lesson (Value Life) Do Not Murder
Open in prayer, then say, did you all enjoy that game? It was pretty silly, wasn’t it? Everyone seemed to be aiming mostly for the student who was worth the most points. Now in our crazy game, some students were worth more than others. They were more valuable in our game. Is that how things are in real life? Are some people worth more than others? (Allow students to answer.)
NO! Of course not! God loves each and every one of us equally! I am sorry to tell you however that some people do not feel the same way. Sometimes people act like some people are worth more, are more important, than others. They act like that by treating others unkindly, thinking mean thoughts about them, ignoring their needs, or even hurting them. That’s pretty sad, isn’t it? That leads us into today’s lesson, discussing the sixth commandment. Let’s open our Bibles to Exodus 20:13. (Read, or have a student read, Exodus 20:13.)
“You must not murder.”
That is a really short commandment. In the original language, Hebrew, it’s only two words, which pretty much translate to “no murder.” Can it get any clearer than that? Here’s the thing. It’s not very likely that any of you have murdered anyone or ever will murder anyone. Not many people will kill another human being. This commandment is a rule from God and it is a law in our country. Everyone, even people who don’t believe in God, can agree that killing people is bad.
But this commandment is still for you, even as a kid. Because Jesus explained that it’s about more than ending someone’s life. The sixth commandment, “don’t murder,” is about valuing, honoring, and respecting life. Let’s have a sword drill to see what Jesus has to say about this commandment.
Take all bookmarks and fingers out of your Bibles and hold them above your heads. When I say go, look up Matthew 5:21-22. Go! (Read, or have a student read, Matthew 5:21-22.)
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone,you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot,you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”
In these verses, Jesus tells us that murder is not just something we do to someone’s body, but murder can be something we feel in our hearts or say with our mouths. Jesus is saying that any action or any thought that hurts another person is just as bad as murder. Can anybody guess why? (Allow students to discuss with one another then share their thoughts with the whole group.) You all have some good ideas. All life is important to God because God created all life. It does not make God happy when we do things to hurt or destroy his beautiful creations. Just imagine how you would feel if you worked hard on a beautiful painting, only to have someone come and tear it in half! It would be very upsetting. Just think how much worse it is if we hurt a person.
Genesis 1:27 says that God created people in his own image. We are made to be like God. We are made to be kind and creative and loving. When we hurt others, we are not being kind or loving. We are not creating good things, we are destroying good things.
The Bible also tells us that God knows what we think in our hearts. Jeremiah 17:10a says, “But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives.”
If we let hatred and unkind words live in our hearts, they will grow like weeds, and turn into unkind actions. God knows what we think. And even the secret thoughts in our hearts are not a secret to God. He sees the good and the bad, and the bad thoughts about others in our hearts is sin.
Here’s another verse that helps us understand this commandment a little better. 1 John 3:15 says, “Anyone who hates another brother or sisteris really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.”
It sounds harsh, but here is the truth from the Bible. If you really hate someone, Jesus does not live in your heart. God’s love is so big and so strong and so amazing, that it can’t even be in the same place as hatred. If there is hatred in your heart, God’s love for other people is not there. It’s like two people trying to sit in the same chair. It just doesn’t work so well.
Now before you get too worried about this, it is okay to be mad at others! Everyone gets mad sometimes. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.’ Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”
It is when we stay angry or act mean or say unkind things that we are letting our anger take over, and that is when it becomes a problem. When we start to feel like we are getting angry and feel mean thoughts coming into our hearts, that is when we need to stop and pray and ask God to forgive us and give us kind thoughts about others.
So, we know that sixth commandment tells us to not murder. We learned that murder is not only hurting someone’s body, but it is also hurting their heart and God’s heart with the unkind things we think and say. That is because each and every one of us is created special by God and he loves us all very much. So much, that John 3:16 says, say it with me, “For this is how God loved the world: He gavehis one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
God loves us so much that he sent his Son to die for us. Jesus took all the unkind thoughts and words and actions on himself and let himself be murdered so we could be forgiven for every sinful thing we do, even when we hurt other people. So, instead of letting hatred and unkindness and murder live in our hearts, let’s ask Jesus to live there instead. Then he will fill us with the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says,
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
When those good things live in our hearts, there will be no room for murder and hate! Since Jesus died for us all, we value everyone’s life. We do that by being kind to everyone.
Before we move on to our craft time, I want us to think of some different examples of ways you might be unkind with your words or actions. We are going to make a list on the board about the different ways we might break the sixth commandment. I want to do this so we can all be aware of the ways that even you as kids might sin, that way you can watch out for temptation to sin and think hurtful thoughts about others or say mean things that show you don’t love them and value them like God does.
(Discuss with your students what murder may look like in their lives and record their answers on the board. Some examples include: sibling rivalry, hurting animals, teasing or bullying others, or disrespecting parents or grandparents, putting down opponents in sports or other competitions. It may even include neglecting to stand up for those who are being bullied, or not sitting with the lonely kid at lunch.)
End in prayer.
Sunday School Coloring Page: 6th Commandment Do Not Murder
6th Commandment Coloring Page by Many Groce. Have children write their name on the coloring page. As they color, discuss with them what they learned today. They may take the coloring pages home, or you may collect them to put together into a book to be sent home at the end of the unit. You can find options with printed text (instead of cursive script) when on the 10 Commandments Coloring Book page on our website.
Kindness Notes Craft
The message ended by discussing the ways students could break the sixth commandment. To close on a positive note, have students make notes to hide everywhere they go to lift people up and make them smile. They can color the front of the card on the back write another kind note or draw a happy picture. They will then hide these cards in the school bathroom, at the library, or on their sibling’s pillow. Have them come up with fun hiding places. Remind them that they have to be like kindness ninjas. They have to hide the notes for others to find, but no one can see them or find out it was them.