A Moral Dilemma

Case A: “If you move, I swear to God, I will shoot you!”

Assuming that the speaker is a Christian (and between 70 and 80% of Americans are, so it’s a safe, if not ironclad assumption), they’re probably in a bit of trouble with God, as Matthew 5:34 teaches us that Christians aren’t supposed to “swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne”.

But there’s a second problem.

A knottier one.

Let’s say that the person being spoken to moves, but in a non-threatening, compliant way, perhaps by assuming a submissive posture. Alternatively, the person with the gun could receive assistance from a third party, thus rendering use of the firearm unnecessary.

Has the gun-wielder compounded his sin by not firing, thus breaking his oath?

Case B: “If you move, I swear to God, I will kill you!”

This looks pretty much the same as Case A, but there’s an additional complication. The person being threatened moves, and the gun-wielder fires, striking their target center mass. The injured party slumps to the ground and ceases all motion, and when the shooter carefully checks for a pulse, he doesn’t feel one.

Then the ambulance arrives, and the medics heroically patch the wound the wound and perform CPR all the way to the hospital, where the doctors are able to resuscitate the shooting victim.

Did the shooter fulfill his oath when the victim fell to the ground, apparently without a pulse, or have the actions of the doctors, through no fault of his own, caused him to break his oath?

And which does God view as the greater sin; Killing a man, or breaking an oath?

And if it’s the latter, can he fulfill his oath and get square with God by later hunting down and killing the person he initially only seriously wounded?

Need answer fast.