“If you wanted to commit the perfect, unsolvable, murder what weapon would you choose?”
My husband is a Detective Inspector in the Met and has dealt with many an ‘interesting’ murder scene in his 30 years as an officer, and this question is often the topic of conversation at dinner with friends. They want to know if it is possible to ‘get away with murder’!
I have watched many a documentary on TV about murder where there was no evidence of who did it left at the scene. One programme even suggested that a weapon, like a knife, or similar, able to stab someone could be made of ice and that would be the perfect weapon. Once inside the victim it would melt and there would be no murder weapon to be found.
Well, I’m no crime scene investigator, but all around me every day I see, speak and pray with murder victims. Sadly for these people their death wasn’t swift, but a slow, painful, tortuous experience. They have been attacked with the most cruel of murder weapons, a weapon that makes you die from the inside out – and that weapon is ‘words’.
Words, I believe, are the cruellest weapon you can use against anyone. Just a simple throwaway line to a child who has fallen over like “Get up stupid!” can be a killer – that child instantly identifies with that label and believes they are ‘stupid’. I’m sure that all of you can think of a time when someone said something to you that hurt. It not only hurt, but it then continued to fester in your heart and mind, making you doubt yourself, making you think differently about yourself and ultimately changing your whole view of yourself. Words are powerful things when used not in love or for encouragement.
This week Alice, our 13 year old, came home from school in floods of tears. She is in yr 9 at school, at the end of year 7 the school identified that she had a talent for art and asked if she would like to do her GCSE Art exam early. She started the coursework in yr 8 and has just done her mock exam, the final real exam being in May this year. We are really proud of her, she does have a talent for art, she has her own wonderful style and is always doing something creative. Her bedroom is a delight, the walls are covered in her work, paintings, cartoons, sketches, collages etc. She made me just the most beautiful picture for Christmas, a collage of photos of me and her interspersed with other bits of her art and she had framed it.
Wednesday evening she came home from school after her first art lesson of the year with her mock exam result, it was one mark off attaining a B grade at GCSE! We were so proud of her, at 13 she was doing so well. But she was crying. Her teacher had told her “she obviously hadn’t worked hard enough” and what she had produced for her exam was “too simplistic”. She was totally broken by his comments. Now that is murder. That is how you crush someone’s spirit. A 13 year old attaining a B grade at GCSE is totally amazing in my eyes, but obviously not in the eyes of her teacher. If I were her teacher I would not only be congratulating Alice for her achievement, but quite selfishly thinking maybe I had done a good job too in coaching her to achieve such a result!
Someone once said to me that before you are allowed to criticise someone you have to say seven positive things first and also phrase the negative as an encouragement rather than a criticism. Constructive or positive criticism is always the best option whether you are speaking to an adult or a child. Think before you speak, how would I feel if someone said this to me? If you wouldn’t like to have someone say it to you, then don’t say it. Say it in a way you would like to hear it, with love.
Follow the golden rule in Matthew’s gospel “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (New Living Translation)
And remember “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 (New Living Translation)
Words are sharper than swords, they can cut you down in one blow and sadly can remain with you forever. Please remember to use them wisely and lovingly - for the building up of people, not the cutting down.
My prayers go out today to all of you who are victims of other peoples words. God knows your pain and is crying with you. I would love to pray for you, or with you, for your healing. I know that God can and wants to heal you from this pain. Facebook inbox me, email me firstname.lastname@example.org; drop me a letter, text me or catch up with me any time.
“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” Proverbs 12:18 (New Living Translation)