Lets Talk About Murder

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

And so, we find ourselves in the middle of the year! It feels unreal, how time is flying by.

In this month of June, I want to expand on some of the ideas we discussed in the May Blog, and I want to start with this verse in Exodus 20:13:

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13 “You shall not commit murder (unjustified, deliberate homicide).

You may be thinking “well thank goodness I can stop reading, this is not applicable to me!” But hold on to your hats! We know that each of the 10 Commandments are just a summary of the 613 Commandments God gave to Moses. If we delve deeper into this Commandment about murder, we note that it not only deals with the deliberate and unjustified killing of another person, but also with the concept of “lashon hara”, better known as evil speech.

“Evil speech or lashon hara (lah-shone ha-rah): Be careful with what you say, don’t be verbally abusive, don’t embarrass someone publicly, don’t lie, and know that words can be cruel weapons.”

But how on earth do we just jump from murder to speech? Easy, the Word says:

Proverbs 18:21

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21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.

Let us take a little “rabbi trail” and drive this concept home with a story, we all love a good story, right?

One man spread a rumor about another. He later felt regret and went to the rabbi to ask how to make amends. “Go to the store and buy a bag of seeds,” said the rabbi, “then go to a big open field and scatter the seeds into the wind. Do so and report back to me in a week.”

The man did as he was told and came back the next week to find out what to do next. “Now,” said the rabbi, “go back to the field and pick up all the seeds.”

“But” the man protested, “those seeds have scattered far and wide! I’ll never find them all. Many have even already taken root!”

“Exactly,” explained the rabbi. “Now you understand. When we speak badly about another person, the effect is far and wide. And it is damage that can never be fully undone.”

What makes mankind unique above all the animals? We are not the strongest, fastest, some would even suggest not the most intelligent. Yet man possesses something that no other creature on earth has; the ability to creatively communicate. When God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, we were gifted with the same creative gift that the whole universe was formed from: speech.

Speech is a tool of creation (just like our Creator created and formed the universe through speech), so can our peach build up or tear down. Bring life or bring death.

Genesis 1: 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24

3 And God said, [d]“Let there be light”; and there was light

6 And God said, “Let there be an [h]expanse [of the sky] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters [below the expanse] from the waters [above the expanse].”

9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place [of standing, pooling together], and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.

11 So God said, “Let the earth sprout [tender] [i]vegetation, [j]plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit according to (limited to, consistent with) their kind, whose seed is in them upon the earth”; and it was so.

14 Then God said, “Let there be light-bearers (sun, moon, stars) in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be useful for signs (tokens) [of God’s provident care], and for marking seasons, days, and years;

20 Then God said, “Let the waters swarm and abundantly produce living creatures, and let birds soar above the earth [k]in the open expanse of the heavens

24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to (limited to, consistent with) their kind: livestock, crawling things, and wild animals of the earth according to their kinds”; and it was so [because He had spoken them into creation].

Beyond just the destruction that comes in the person’s own soul who falls into the trap of evil speech, think of the destruction that comes with the power of gossip and vicious rumours – it tears apart relationships, families, communities.

There is an old rabbinic tradition that says that lashon hara kills three people:

1) The one who is spoken about, the person who is being gossiped about or whose character is being attacked behind their back. It kills them, because it ruins their reputation (think of the story about the seed that was spread all over and could never be recovered).

2) The one who speaks the lashon hara, because he is the one who is transgressing the Commandment not to murder, even with your mouth, and he lowers himself spiritually by doing so.

3) The one who listens to lashon hara, because he is providing the speaker with the opportunity to transgress, and his opinion of the one who is spoken about is ruined.

We often end up justifying our words that fall under evil speech with the below excuses, beware of this, it is a crafty trap that the enemy cannot wait for you to step in and transgress:

  1. “But it’s true!”

  2. “But I didn’t even mention his name!”

  3. “If he was here I’d say it to his face.”

  4. “I wouldn’t care if someone said the same thing about me.”

  5. “Everyone knows about it already, anyway.”

  6. “He wouldn’t mind.”

  7. “Just kidding!”

  8. “There he goes again... “

  9. “It’s all in the name of business / ministry competition.”

  10. "This may be Loshon Hara, but..."

  11. “C’mon, you can tell me...”

We have all been guilty of this, and so the real question is, how do we avoid gossip and slander?

ü Recognize your own faults and commit to improving them.

Matthew 7:3

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3 Why do you look at the [insignificant] speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice and acknowledge the [egregious] log that is in your own eye?

ü Try not to focus on someone’s flaws but on their virtues.

ü Judge others favourably.

ü Practice Self-Control (one of the fruits of the Spirit)

May the LORD work in each of our hearts during the rest of this year, to not only refrain from killing with our tongues (or fingers in the era of the Internet and social media), but to not become complicit to murder by lending out our eyes and ears to malicious words.

May our ears be for the hearing of God’s word and the doing of His commandments:

Deuteronomy 6:4-6

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4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be [written] on your heart and mind.

Be blessed!

Elzaan and Monique

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