What is it to murder?
Have you ever murdered someone with your words?
In the Old Testament, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and in them He included a prohibition against murder. Simply stated, God said:
“You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13)(ESV).
Pretty simple, right?
Well, not so much. Because aside from the fact that the world has a particularly poor record with respect to keeping this commandment in the physical sense, Jesus came along and clarified just what it truly means for us to not murder.
In Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV), He says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”
Jesus points out that murder begins in the heart. He says that anger is at the root of murder. He said that it is not enough that we not commit the physical act of murder, but that we must transform our hearts (which actually means He must transform our hearts) so that the seed of anger is not sown, that which bears the fruit of murder.
So, I return to my original question: Have you ever murdered someone with your words?
You might think, “Really?” “Do my words really have the power to kill?”
Consider this. Every one of us was made in God’s image and we bear his likeness. It was God’s “Word” that created the universe and everything in it. John 1:3 (ESV) says, “all things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
Think about that for a moment.
God’s Word is mighty powerful, right?
So, being made in his image, it would also make sense that our words carry significant power.
And I think we can all agree that, looking back across history, people’s choice of words has resulted in…
War and Peace
Love and Hate
Death and Life…
Yeah, I’d say our words are pretty darn powerful.
So, once again, have you ever used your words to murder someone?
Do you have enemies? Do you want to make someone pay for what they’ve done? Do you say things for the purpose of hurting others?
Have you ever laughed at someone’s hope?
Have you ever mocked someone’s ambition?
Have you ever told a child they are stupid or worthless or good for nothing?
Have you ever said as much to your spouse?
Words like these can destroy a person’s life, even if they continue to live. There are thousands of examples of adults today who carry the scars of the deep cuts made by the words of their friends and family members from many years ago.
Words are powerful. Words can kill.
They can be used for good or for evil and they will be used for one or the other. There is no in between.
Please choose them very, very carefully.
Ephesians 4:29 (ESV): “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”