K is for Kill

Thou shall not kill - cemetery

Death comes from more than just physical blows.

I’ve never killed anyone.

Or have I?

The fifth commandment very clearly states,

Thou shall not Kill.

It seems simple enough. As long as I don’t put a gun to someone and pull the trigger, hold a knife to the throat of another, push someone in front of a moving train, I’ve got that commandment covered, right? Piece of cake. Dust my hands off. Check that commandment off the list, and move on to the next one:  Thou shall not commit adultery

– or can I check it off? Have I killed?

Sometimes we oversimplify things. Yes, the commandment says, “Thou shall not kill,” but what does that really mean?

Do we think the Lord meant thou shall not kill physically in a Cain and Abel sort of way?

Did the Lord say, “Well, as long as their blood is not crying up to me from the ground, all is good?”

We know the Lord, Father of all, hears our mourning and weeping. The prayer, Hail Holy Queen, refers to God’s children as, “mourning and weeping in the valley of tears.” That mourning and weeping comes from the pain and suffering we endure on this earth, separated from the utopia God wants for us. That suffering comes from the loss of a loved one, from physical pain we endure and see in others, and from confusion and fear of the unknown, but it comes from other places too.

That suffering comes from a source that can be prevented if we give it the attention we are called to and don’t make excuses – our thoughts and words.

Words are often the precursor to physical blows in domestic violence. Verbal bullying in schools leads to assault, vengeance, and suicide. Wounds caused by words can be more damaging, harder to identify, longer lasting, and more difficult to prevent  than physical wounds.

We speak harshly to our children and our spouses. We mock the stranger in the grocery store and the friend we bump into at the bank. We are often unconscious of how often our words can harm another, but words are very powerful.

In so many instances, words cause death. Words, intentional or unintentional, can cause a chipping away at self-worth, a loss of who the target was meant to be,  the death of the person’s spirit.

When that happens there is a death. We become responsible for killing a piece of the soul of another human being, another child of God. When we kill the soul of another, we inflict pain on them that can tempt to sin by turning from God.

But anyone who is the downfall of one of these little ones who have faith in me would be better drowned in the depths of the sea with a great millstone round his neck.

Matthew 18:6

Mark and Luke have similar verses. Remember, to the Father, we are all His children. He loves even those we find most unlovable. It is very clear that when we use our words to hurt another, we will be held responsible.

The 10 Commandments tell us, “Thou shall not kill.” I know I have broken this commandment many times. Thank the Lord for His forgiveness and the strength to help me hold my tongue next time.

Thou shall not kill. It means more than a physical death. Hold yourself to a higher standard.

Have you witnessed this killing of another? How do you protect those around you from falling victim to this death? How do you protect yourself when someone tries to kill a piece of you?

God Bless…

4 Comments

  1. […] I wrote K is for Kill, and everything in me begged to soften that un-Christian title. I still REALLY dislike having K […]



  2. […] our vocabulary. In K is for Kill I spoke of how speech can tear down another and how words often precede action. Even mentally […]



  3. ReginaMary on April 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    So, once more, I am compelled to stop what I am doing and reply to your post.
    This one struck a chord with me for so many reasons. My father (my hero) was a man of few but valuable words. As a young girl he always spoke to me about ‘influence’ (in a manner far easier to understand than St. Augustine!). He didn’t caution me, he down right warned me about the dangers of taking possession of someone’s character through our words either directly or through gossip. He taught me that there are three distinct paths we must choose from each and every time we encounter someone. We can choose to remain neutral in our exchange (meh), or we can elevate people (yay!), but God help the person who brings someone down. He taught me that to damage someone’s character in any way, for any reason is a sin against God. It is a fatal blow that some people may never recover from; damaging their name, and your soul. I try to live by my father’s words each and every day.

    Recently, I felt that fatal blow myself, at the hands of my sons. As they now spend their days in the company of their father and grandmother, I have been the subject of much “talk”. I am not unfamiliar with that…no one on this planet is above negative chatter, especially during divorce. What I cannot reconcile is how my boys are not only comfortable *hearing* this talk, but do nothing to defend me…even worse? they participate in this regular tearing down of my character. Upon learning about this, I felt betrayed. I felt the cold blade in my back. The act of cowardice meant kill. Kill what? My physical body? Of course not. Kill my trust? Definitely! I told my youngest how I betrayed I felt. When I asked why he did not find it necessary to defend me- HIS MOTHER, he could not respond. That’s when I realized more than ever what my father warned me about. The power we possess when we open our mouths! The destruction our words cause; words that, once set free, can never be retrieved! The swift and ugly blow that begins the tragic death of something so important and valuable, so much so that God gave each and everyone of us our very own. Our character. Thou shall not kill. Not in words or deeds, in what we do, or fail to do.

    My heart broke that day, but it did not die. It will take a lot to kill this old goat…for sure!



    • Strahlen on April 13, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      lol Regina I am choosing to laugh at your final line, “It will take a lot to kill this old goat,” rather than cry for the rest of your post which is what I want to do.
      I am in the midst of the A-Z Challenge, which I said I would do and you know I always try to keep my word, but there are so many things going on with me here that I really want to write about too that part of me wishes I hadn’t signed up for A-Z. For example, I know bit of how you feel. I’m not sure if you caught my Facebook post yesterday on Single Mom Smiling, but I reposted a clip from my friend Ali Dent about raising children (targets and goals). I thought of you while reading it. xoxo



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