Most of us recognize that taking the life of another person is a sin against God and humanity. The 6th Commandment states, “You shall not murder.” That seems pretty straight forward and most of us can readily agree. However, in Matthew, Jesus expands on the offense by saying there is more than one way to kill. We break the command when we hold anger against another person, because that anger leads to evil thoughts and intentions that play out in damaging ways. In addition, when we assault a person verbally by slandering and defaming their character, we break God’s command. We also damage others when we stand by silently and allow others to discredit and wound another person with words. To be silent is to acquiese. Silence implies agreement.
Ex 20:13; Matt 5:21-22; Lev 19:16; 1 Sam 19:4; Eph 4:31-32; Ps 73:16-17; Ps 19:14
“You shall not murder.” (Ex 20:13). “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 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.” (Matt 5:21-22)
God doesn’t want us to hurt and damage ourselves, others, or, our relationship with Him. We need to have a sixth sense when it comes to the 6th Commandment. If you have wounded with words, own it. Confess the sin. “Lord, I’ve murdered with my mouth; please forgive me.” Once you are able to own it, you can begin the cleaning process. Cleaning means monitoring and analyzing your anger and your words. Step back and recognize the problem. Reading through the Psalms is a great way to process your anger. Many of the writers are coming from a place of deep pain, anger and frustration. Pouring your heart out to God is the start of healing and emotional health. Then watch your words, comments and remarks. Ask God to put a guard on your mouth. Spouting off is easy, but cleaning up the damage caused is painful and often impossible. Be sensitive. There are times when it’s important to give someone information they need to have about another person, but it goes to intent. Is the intent the protection of the person you are telling or the destruction of the person you are talking about? God knows the intention of our hearts.
Did you ever experience the wrath of a verbal bully? Have you ever been that verbal bully? How damaging is verbal assault? How have you seen verbal abuse play out? Can you think of a time when you either jumped to another’s defense or silently allowed them to be slandered? How do you feel in the midst of a conversation that discredits another person? How do you respond? Are you inclined to join in, be silent, speak up or walk away? What should you do? Do you do a mental mouth-check?
If you have hurt someone, it is never too late to apologize. Ask God for forgiveness and move forward as he leads. Check your mouth before you engage in any conversation about another person. Search your heart and examine your intention.
Dear Lord, guard my heart against harboring anger and resentment. Guard my mouth against speaking words that wound and kill. May I value all people and love them as you do. Thank you for loving me and drawing me back to you again and again though I fail you and myself. Thank you for your forgiveness. In Jesus Name I pray Amen.