KEY SCRIPTURE Numerous RELEVANCE I have raised this subject previously but thought I'd explore it further.
This type of death, of Chinese origin, is characterised in many walks of life, not just torture. It typically means that something is slowly being destroyed rather than annihilated all at once.
It often happens in relationships, and the Lord has warned us about it in many ways. Instead of using a knife to slice, we use our tongues and ignorance. And it is not blood that drains from the other person, but love, affection and relationship.
For instance, regarding marriage, Proverbs 27:15-16 says, A nagging spouse is like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky tap; you can't turn it off, and you can't get away from it. (The Message). This may be where one partner can never live up to the expectations of the other, and the slicing begins. (Of course, it doesn't help if we're deaf to good suggestions.)
Years later, the love has drained, and the partners merely go through the motions, obliged to remain married for God, the kids, or whatever. What do we expect after years of this? The slow death of the relationship. The 'one' that God put together becomes two again, despite living in the same house. Death by a thousand unwanted comments.
In friendships, Proverbs 25:17 says, Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's door; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee. Proverbs 25:16 reiterates it. Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.
I have a mate of many years. When he and his wife were raising their kids, a mutual friend who was single used to drop in three times per week. He'd stay for dinner, not leaving till about 9.00 pm. He brought a bottle of wine but still didn't get the point that after the first few visits, the couple didn't want him there on weeknights. Anybody raising kids knows that. Even with hints, the penny wouldn't drop. The relationship drained—death by a thousand unwanted visits.
Proverbs 27:14 tells us, He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him. These days we use texting and mobile phones instead of shouting over the neighbour's fence, although that probably still happens. Just because you're up and about doesn't mean others are. Texting or ringing at all hours or too often is the problem. When I first got a mobile phone, I was guilty of texting at any time. With my then provider, a text could take a few hours to get through, with some arriving at 3.00 am. I think I was a bit of a nuisance to some. I changed providers and put time texting protocols into place. Now I don't text or ring before or after certain times.
One odd thing that happens annually is that every Christmas morning I'm included in a friend's "Merry Christmas" bulk friend text—at 6.30 am if you don't mind. I think he wants to be the first for the merry wish. I don't want offend my mate by commenting, as it's only one day per year, so I put my phone on silent. The trouble is remembering, as I prefer to leave it on for emergency calls. This isn't death by a thousand untimely texts for me, as I don't get enough. But I'm sure some people do.
Relationships can suffer a slow death in many ways, and we wake up one day to a dissolved marriage or friendship and wonder how it happened. We cry; what did I do? We can't recall, because small things aren't remembered by the perpetrator.
God has many cautions in scripture—many orange lights telling us not to proceed further. But Satan wants us to race through every orange light God uses to warn us, ignore every scripture, and disregard every spiritual signpost, so long as we get our way. By these means, he uses us humans to slice our relationships apart, and in Christianity, the Body suffers in the shredding.
God also gave us methods to heal those cuts, slices and cheap barbs as they occur. He provided us with Agape Love. The profound love of our omnipotent God is within us, brought by the Holy Spirit. We have abundantly more of this love than we realise. While God doesn't want us slicing and barbing our way through life, He also soothes our hurts with that same love and provides patience and forgiveness to help our wounded souls.
PRAYER Dear Lord, I have been guilty of numerous barbs. I have received my fair amount of slices, but also given out a few as well. Please help my understanding of this wonderful love I have within, if only I activated it.
Photo by Igor Bispo