"I saw the Christians martyrs in Smyrna. Their bodies were frightfully lacerated from the scourging. The veins in their backs were laid bare. Their muscles, sinews and even their intestines were exposed."
-Eusabius (3rd Century Roman Historian)
How do you lose your soul? I mean, is it like losing your keys or misplacing your headband? Can you get it back once its lost? Are there people who can help you find your soul? The soul is an interesting part of mankind--different from the human spirit and cleary different from the body. So, where does the soul reside?
Philosophers, smarter than me, describe the soul as the wellspring of human emotions and will...the place where we decide to do or not do. The spirit is our life force-- the engine, if you will, that drives us. Scripture says that a persons spirit is the Lord’s candle. It’s also a place where one get their leading...but, you’ve still got your soul and that’s where you decide whether you’ll follow the leading of your spirit or not.
At death, the spirit goes back to the source of all life; the body returns to the dust but the soul retains its unique consciousness. Clearly, I’ve never been dead but I was nearly killed on three occasions. I can’t definitiely speak to what happens at the moment of death...just speculation based on a diligent study and observation.
Jesus, at the point of death, said this: “Father, into they hands I commend my Spirit.” Earlier, he is recorded as saying, “Father, I know you will not let my soul perish in hell.” The Hebrew word often translated as‘soul’ is NEPHESH--but the word often translated spirit is RUACH. RUACH is linked to breath...the spirit--but, NEPHESH is linked to blood. How interesting that the Scriptures say, ‘without the shedding of blood there is no remission of transgresions.’ And, ‘the life of the NEPESH is in the blood.’
The ever creative Romans invented a particularly horrific torture device: The flagrum. The British Navy re-introduced a variation of this device under the name, ‘Captain’s Daughter,’ or ‘cat-o-nine tails.’ This ingenious device, used as a lash against prisoners consisted of a wooden stick with nine interlaced piece of leather. Each leather strand had jagged edges of sheep bone and metal tied into the ends. The bone and metal fragments, about the size of an acorn, were designed to extract tiny pieces of flesh with each lash. The magic number that a human body could withstand-- just before being brought to the brink of death-- was thirty-nine. The Romans were interested in extracting information, so if you happened to die...’oh well.’ Food for the crows and magpies. Roman efficiency required that at least two persons be present to swing the flagrum--one left handed and one right handed person. Maximum flaying.
Just as there is a flagrum for the body, there is an accompanying one for the soul. It is called, ‘the tongue.’
Each word spoken in anger and resentment cruelly flays a piece of the person’s soul on the receiving end. The soul bleeds from each tiny cut. An imprint remains...a scar. The scar, just like rape, is ever remembered. The pain become less prominent as time enacts healing. Nonetheless, the scar remains.
Cruelty manifests in words and deed--as does hate. The more you hate, the more intense the need to hate --and the accompanying desensitivity-- to concommitant cruelty. And, the more regular the cruelty is administered, the more raging the hate becomes. Consider Darfur: The more the Sudanese Christians are hated by the Janjeweed, the easier it to rape, maim and slaughter them. And the more they are raped, maimed and slaughtered, themore the hate is ratched upward. Hate and cruely imprisoned forever in a vicious, destructive cycle.
Evil intent begins in the heart, is fomented and organized in the soul, but finds its unseemly execution with the tongue.
About ten years ago, there was outrage against the Singaporean government’s decision to ‘cane’ a person as punishment. “Caneing’ is painful, but it’s no ‘flagellum.’ If the ‘flagellum’ was introduced today, the outcry would shake the pillars of the civilzed world.
Yet humans, with no more consideration than given to stomping a German cockroach, will unleash torrents of words upon those we ‘say’ we love that leave them broken and scarred. Same principle as the flagrum, but the scars aren’t visible so we think its OK.
Is it accceptable to speak such words because there are no reports of ‘homicide by tongue lashing?’ After all, we learnt in nursery school that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” And everything we learned in nursery school was true, wasn’t it?