The Word from the Top (4)

The sixth commandment says, ‘You shall not murder.’ Now, most of us don’t need a lecture on murder, so let’s address the real issue: the tongue, which kills by destroying a person’s self-worth and future hopes.

Paul writes:

‘For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.’ (Galatians 5:14-15 ESV).

There was once a 1994 tabloid headline, ‘Killer bug ate my face!’ The reporting was sensational, but the stories were based on factual cases of invasive streptococcal bacteria (yuck!) found in Gloucestershire, England. When invasive Strep A (which isn’t the same as strep throat [Bacterial tonsillitis]) takes hold, necrotizing fasciitis can begin, which causes the victim’s flesh to die at the rate of several inches per hour. Meanwhile toxic shock sets in, shutting down organs and causing death.

Dr. Jeffrey Crowley describes what happens after the deadly microbes take hold: ‘The bacteria multiply rapidly, producing toxins…For three days the patient may suffer swollen lymph nodes, rising fever, and excruciating pain at the site of infection. Penicillin can stop the attack at this stage, but by day four, infected tissues start dying. Bacteria saturate the bloodstream, destroying muscles and organs, sending the body into shock, and death can follow within hours… invasive streptococcus is rare, but unforgiving.’

You say, ‘That’s gruesome!’ Yes, and so is gossip, and slander! They’re deadly. They make people feel worthless by destroying their self-esteem and undermining them to the point where life doesn’t seem worth living. Learn to guard your tongue and speak words that bring life, not death.

‘You shall not murder.’  Exodus 20:13 NIV

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