Deuteronomy 4-6; Luke 2

Deuteronomy 5:17 “Thou shall not kill.”

Common attitude: “I’m a pretty nice person. Hey, at least I haven’t killed anybody.”  This is often a response to a question about one’s adherence to the tenets of the Faith or one’s need for repentance.  My response: “Of course you’ve killed somebody – probably a number of people –and we all have, me included.”  “Killing” encompasses much more than depriving people of their physical lives.  Our tongues are deadly weapons: “but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8)  Gossip of course is a way we use the tongue as a weapon.  Just a couple of more specific ways:

  • detraction is the revealing another person’s faults to a third person without a valid reason.
  • calumny and the civil wrong of defamation, generally involve false accusations rather than unflattering truths.

Our culture is so steeped in these sins that it easy to engage in them and not be conscious of wrongdoing.  Calumny and detraction shout for our attention from the magazine racks as we wait in line at the grocery store.  The Internet is a stinking sewer of it.  It is something to consider when forwarding email impugning the character of a public figure you don’t personally know.  I don’t say this sanctimoniously, because it is an oft-committed sin of my own.  My mother had and my spouse has a saying that contains much wisdom: “If you don’t have anything nice to say about somebody, don’t say anything at all.”

GOD’S ANSWER:  Listen to your mother.  My Son always listened to His.

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