Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

Committing Menticide

ImageDue to the proliferation of murder mystery stories and police procedurals on television, most people are familiar with the term homicide. The term comes from the Latin “homo” – (man) and “cide” – (killing). Another familiar term is suicide. This term comes from the Latin “sui” – (oneself) and “cide” – (killing). Other terms that are well known: patricide (killing of a father); matricide (killing of a mother); infanticide (killing of a baby); and genocide (killing of an entire national or cultural group).

I recently came across another term in the same vein — menticide. The term comes from the Latin “ment” – (mind) and “cide” – (killing). The definition of menticide: The systematic undermining of a person’s beliefs, attitudes and values.

The term perfectly describes what happens to the faith of some Christians as they are confronted with the challenges of the world. Their beliefs, attitudes and values are undermined. Menticide is committed.

The process is described in the Parable of the Sower, recorded in Luke 8:7. The sower sowed seed (the word of God) in several types of soil. “And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.” Concerning the seed that fell among thorns, Jesus explained, “Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity” (Luke 8:14).

There are many examples of menticide in the scriptures.

  • Satan was guilty of the crime when he deceived the woman regarding the fruit God had forbidden her to eat. “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).
  • Delilah was systematic in her undermining of Samson, “Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him” (Judges 16:19).
  • The Old Prophet used lies to destroy the man of God, “He said to him, ‘I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, “Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.”’ (He was lying to him)” (1 Kings 13:18). As a consequence, the young man was killed by a lion. (cf. vs. 24).
  • The devil used scripture in attempting menticide while tempting our Lord, but was unsuccessful. “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God’” (Matthew 4:6-7).

Dire warnings are given in scripture of the consequence of committing such a crime against another. “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7). Even though it is a great crime, we are continually warned of those who seek to commit it against us. Paul warned of false brethren who would “who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage” (Galatians 2:4). As Christians, it would be a horrible expression of antipathy toward our brother in Christ to undermine his conscience “But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ” (1 Corinthians 8:12).

The menticide of a Christian is most often committed by the ungodly instruments of the world. In this, it can almost be said to be self-inflicted! Christians are to avoid the world, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Rest assured that a dalliance with all that is worldly will lead to a “systematic undermining” of the Christian’s beliefs, attitudes and values.

Remember, they can’t kill your mind if you don’t let them. Your faith is your own, and will remain so if you cultivate it and protect it. If we will do so, we are promised that no “created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).