You will beat your breast, o man, and congratulate yourself on being no murderer, for does not to kill mean to murder? Convinced that you have never trespassed against this Divine Commandment, you feel you can approach and stand before God without fear or trembling and confidently await this page in your Book of Life to be looked at.
Have you, however, never thought that it also lies in your power to deprive of life? That means the same as to kill. You have introduced, by your manner of expression, by your language, a difference of meaning that does not exist, for it does not say: Thou shalt not kill physical earth-life. The words are few but all-embracing: “Thou shalt not kill!”
Let us examine a case in point. A father, prompted by worldly ambition, wishes his son to be a scholar, and insists on his studying, cost what it may:
But the son is gifted with some special talent which urges him to do other work, for which these compulsory studies are of no value whatever. Naturally he has no interest in their pursuit, nor can he summon the joyful energy requisite for the task. But the father exacts and the son obeys. To please his father, he works to the prejudice of his health. It is quite natural that he suffers physically by thus thwarting his inclinations and neglecting the gifts that have been given to him.
I will not enlarge on this case, for it is so common in earth-life, that is is but one out of hundreds of thousands; but it cannot be denied that the father's ambition or obstinacy here strove to destroy something that had been given to his son to develop upon earth. In many cases the father succeeds, for in later life it is hardly possible for the son to develop his gifts. He has then exhausted or wantonly wasted on pursuits alien to his nature, the robust energy of youth which is the principal and necessary incentive factor.
In such a case the father has gravely trespassed against the Commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” Besides which, he has perhaps withheld from mankind something that might have been of the greatest use to them, something the boy should have done.
The father should have considered that, although his son may have a spiritual relationship to him or to his mother, before the Creator he is a separate individual whose duty it is to develop such talents as he received on coming into the world, for his own benefit. Perhaps he was destined to make an important discovery of special value for men, by which heavy Karma that he had incurred, was by God's mercy to be remitted. The trespass against God's intention will here lie heavily at the door of the parents who accounted their paltry mundane concerns of higher importance than the great decrees of fate, thus they abused of their parental authority and power.
It is the same thing when parents allow trivial and insignificant suggestions of expediency to be of paramount importance in their calculations regarding the marriage of their children. How often in such a case, the noblest, purest impulse of their child is checked without any consideration for its feelings, whereby its material welfare may be assured but to the hurt of its soul's happiness which is of greater and more decisive moment for the child than all earthly treasures.
Of course parents should not indulge every dream, wish or whim of their child. That would be contrary to their parental duty. But searching examination utterly unbiased by mundane considerations must be made before they give way to their child. It is but seldom, if ever that such examination takes place. There are thousands of such cases, it is not necessary for me to say more about these.
Ponder over it yourselves, and do not trespass against the weighty injunction in this commandment!
You will find new and unforeseen ways open out before you! On the other hand, a child can also sorely disappoint and kill justified hopes in its parents. If, when the latter have come forward to make the way clear that the child has chosen, it neglects to develop its gifts to attain great things, the unresponsive child would here be destroying generous and noble sentiments in its parents and thus trespassing against this commandment.
Again, when a man disappoints real friendship and abuses confidence placed in him, he kills something in that other that was a living reality and in so doing trespasses against God's Word: “Thou shalt not kill!” Fate will require atonement from him later on.
You see that all God's commandments are man's best friends, faithfully protecting him from evil and from tribulation. Love them, therefore, and cherish them as treasures that it is a pleasure for you to guard!