Thou shall not kill – the spirit of the young

Carl SharifFriend Carl Sharif tells this wonderful story of elder wisdom transmitted to him as a youth that speaks to the meaning of God’s words and how they apply to our lives on multiple levels:

I grew up in the Christian Church and my father (Deacon P. Dawson) was Chairman of the Deacon Board and quite a student of the bible. I will never forget a discussion he had with me when I was a very young boy.

I once asked him about the 10 commandments and he recited them to me. When he got to “Thou shall not kill” I was terrified. I thought of all the ants that I had stepped on, mosquitoes I had swatted and other major act of murder I had committed and was really scared that G_D was going to get me. He sensed my youthful concern and here is what he said to me:

“Son, most people know without being told that they should not take a human life. All life is sacred but human life is in another category.” He went on to tell me that the deeper meaning of the commandment was that I should never kill another persons enthusiasm, aspirations, opportunities, beliefs, dreams, hopes and desires. He explained that you could sap someone’s life force without taking his or her life.

As I grew older I heard a term that brought Dad’s words to the front of my mind. It was an old lady looking into the eyes of a young boy and she said, “His light is off.” And as I watched the child it was clear that someone had killed his spirit. His body was alive but his spirit was not.

That is the condition of too many of our young boys. Their spirits and emotions have been killed. These are the murders that my father told me are as bad as taking someone’s physical life. Killing the life force is a sin of deep proportion because its ramifications are unknown until and if they manifest in some gross callous unpredictable act.

All people thrive on encouragement, especially our young. When they are disparaged with comments like “you will never be anything” they are being killed.

After this story I looked at so many things differently. It became important to me to understand the experiences of people in a way that it had not been. I had learned for sure that an act of kindness and a show of concern could give and sustain life.

Too many of our children are experiencing “spirit and mind murder” before they know who they are. Compound that with being raised in effective dens of terror and the result is easily predictable in too many cases. Pile on poor education and lousy role models and there is a toxic mix for which an antidote is in desperate need.

Thou shall not kill — neither children nor adults.

We can probably all agree that too many of our children die a violent death in the streets, but for many of them it is the second death. Some were even dead in the womb where drugs took a final toll. Thou shall not kill.

Shared with Mr. Sharif’s permission. The words belong to him.

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