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Contempt and indifference kill

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Contempt and indifference kill

Insults, contempt and indifference towards others “€œcan kill”€, the Pope warned during the General Audience on Wednesday morning, 17 October. Continuing his catechesis on the Decalogue, the Pontiff picked up from last week”€™s reflection on the Fifth Commandment and the Bible passage according to Matthew (5:21-24), and compared these three attitudes of murderous hatred. We “€œare used to insulting, it is true. We tend to insult like exhaling”€, he said. But he warned, “€œJesus tells us: “€˜Stop, because an insult does harm, it kills”€™”€. And the same is true of contempt which is “€œa way of killing a person”€™s dignity”€. This is why, he added, it “€œwould be nice if this teaching of Jesus were to enter the mind and heart”€of each of us.

“€œNo human code equates such different acts, assigning the same level of justice”€, the Pope pointed out, and “€œconsistently Jesus actually exhorts us to interrupt the offering of sacrifice in the temple if we remember that we have offended a brother, in order to go and find him and reconcile with him”€. Hence, “€œwhen we go to Mass, we should have this attitude
of reconciliation with the people with whom we have had differences”€. However,
on the contrary as we wait for the priest, to say Mass, “€œwe gossip a little and speak ill of others”€. But the Pontiff stressed, “€œwe cannot do this. Let us think about the gravity of an insult, of contempt, of hatred: Jesus equates
this with killing”€. Indeed, he continued, “€œan inopportune phrase is enough to offend the innocence of a child. A cold gesture can suffice to wound a woman.
To break a young person”€™s heart, it suffices to rebuff his confidence. To annihilate man, it suffices to ignore him. Indifference kills. It is like telling the other person:”€™you are dead to me”€™”€. The Pope concluded by saying,
“€œnot loving is the first step to killing; and not killing is the first step to loving”€.

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