Murder by words

Hi, I’ve been told if you insult some1 and they kill themselves because of being teased and hurt by words that you as good as murdered them. Is that true? I don’t believe it. Yes it is a sin to hurt some1 with words but I sure don’t think its murder if they go and kill them selves. We all have crosses to bare. And most make it through being teased.

Your post is very vague. If someone is suicidal and you are aware of that and you intentionally say the thing that you know will push them over the edge then you are held accountable for their decision to kill themselves. But how culpable would you be even in these circumstances? Only you and God, with the help of a priest, could determine that.

Teasing is fairly normal behavior if kept in check. Someone committing suicide from teasing usually had a very low self esteem and needed help. Only if you knew this and encouraged the degrading of this individual could you be a factor in their decision to end their life.

There was a very recent situation where a girl committed suicide after being “cyberbullied”. I didn’t hear all the particulars, but from what I could glean from the radio, nobody including her mother knew or thought she was depressed to the point of suicide.

It would seem that those who “bullied” her would not be responsible, but I agree with teachccd that if (they) knew that she was on antidepressants or was in therapy and pushed her with teasing or bullying, cyber or not, they would share some culpability.

It would also have to be taken into consideration whether or not the “bully/bullies” had reasonable understanding that this could happen. It could be argued that some individual kids wouldn’t understand that what they’re doing could push a disturbed kid over the edge.

Is there a particular reason you’re asking this?:stuck_out_tongue: :wink: :eek:

That was my initial thought…:confused:

I think the issue is that sometimes one sin can lead to a greater sin. For example, someone who sins by intentionally breaking the speed limit, could end up killing innocent people. He didn’t intend to kill anyone, but he did intend to sin, and the wages of sin are death.

A woman who dresses immodestly, knowing full well that its a sin could trigger a man’s pornography addiction. Then, that man could end up viewing such intense pornography that he becomes so stimulated that he feels the need to act it out, and ends up raping an innocent woman. Obviously, the initial woman who dressed immodestly never intended her actions to ultimately lead to that, but she did intend to sin, and as a result, another woman got raped.

As for the actual topic, bullying, it is always wrong, and always selfish, even though the bullies really have nothing to gain from it. Yes, words are powerful and hurtful, especially when the recipient feels that there may be some truth to them. Every unguarded word has the potential to lead to someone’s death, whether suicide, or provoking the person to murder innocent people, as was the case in Columbine, or other school shootings. The bullies weren’t the ones who got killed, but innocent people.

So the real issue is not so much technical “culpability” in the strictest sense, but just that we need to understand that our sinful actions can lead to a chain reaction of consequences that are far more extreme than what we had intially thought could possibly ever occur. When God gives us commandments, they are for our own good, and the good of all others. God sees the big picture and knows how the most venial of sins can lead to the most extreme negative consequences. We need to HAVE FAITH and trust in God. When we say, “I believe in Jesus,” that means that we also need to believe that EVERYTHING that He has commanded us to do or refrain from doing is said for our own ultimate good, even when it doesn’t seem that way at the time, or when we don’t understand it. We can NOT take the attitude of, “I’m willing to transgress this commandment, as long as I’m not culpable if it leads to something really bad.” Instead, we need to take the attitude of “Jesus, I trust in You,” even when we don’t understand the reasoning behind the commandments.

I realize that my reply was somewhat off-topic, but I saw a bigger issue that I felt needed to be addressed. As for the actual technical culpability in that specific situation, whether in God’s Eyes, or the eyes of the law, I don’t know. What I can say is that if someone bullies someone else, the bullied person commits suicide, and/or murders others, and the bully doesn’t feel an ounce of guilt or personal responsiblilty, then that bully’s heart is far from where it should be.

There is a secular song called “The Freshmen” by a group called The Verve Pipe, that addresses this issue regarding an abortion and a suicide, and the following guilt that ensued, how they never believed that they would, “die for these sins.”(even though no specific sin is mentioned that lead to the suicide, merely a break-up) So be careful, for whenever we transgress one of God’s commandments, well, the wages of sin is death.

Granted, I’m likely taking that “The wages of sin is death” quote out of context, but I feel that it still can hold true in the way that I am presenting it.

To the OP, realize that you have the option of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, if this is not merely a hypothetical. If so, I would explain the situation to the priest, and he will likely tell you that you are NOT guilty of the sin of murder, but merely guilty of the sin of teasing or bullying, but that you will be forgiven of that sin, after the confession.

Thanks for the replies,
To answer your question: I was recently at a catholic youth camp and was told by the camp leaders that if you tease/bully some1 and they kill themselves that you just as good as killed them. Even if you did not intentionally mean for that comment to lead the person to suicide; you are still guilty of murder.

Now I will say that I have teased (NOT bullied) people a few times when I was younger (most of us probably did) but never to their suicide. I know to never push some1 to their death. I just wanted to know yall’s thoughts were on this issue.

If someone is suicidal and you are aware of that and you intentionally say the thing that you know will push them over the edge then you are held accountable for their decision to kill themselves.

And thats what I was rasied to believe too. And I 100% agree with you. Again thank you all for your replies.

well some people have put up with it their entire lives and they just break down. In a way it’s true to me because the pain the words cause makes them want to kill themselves

People don’t realize the venomous things that they say can cause the other person to believe what they say is true and give up on life all together. Shortly after my divorce [the lowest point in my life] a girl at work must have sensed my weakness and unleashed an attack on me verbally. It went on for about 2 months. The one thing she said that remains with me to this day is " you have no life anyway!". After much heartache and sleepless nights and Prozac, this girl ended up getting fired mainly because of her vicious attitude.Management believed her “poor me” act until she unleashed it on them one day. But in her wake, she left me and several other people devistated emotionally and questioning if life was worth living.
Watch what you say to other people. Especially in a moment of anger. It can “kill” their souls!

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