Death by a thousand cuts

Death by a thousand cuts

Relationships can end as the result of a sudden, and significant event such as illness, economical collapse, or infidelity. More often relationships die a slow, and agonizing death that I refer to as,

“Death by a thousand cuts.”

I grew up in New York listening to comedy LPs from the likes of the late Robin Williams and Don Rickles.  I developed a good sense of comedic timing, a clever wit, and could always depend on my creative sarcasm to get a good laugh, and to keep control of my environment. The latter was always at the expense of another.

Webster says that sarcasm is, “a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain.”  We all know someone with a sharp tongue.

Lingchi, (also known as death by a thousand cuts) was a form of torture and execution used in China from roughly AD 900 until it was banned in 1905.  It was normally reserved for such crimes as treason. Lingchi was a slow, agonizing, and a public method of execution.

Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor
King Solomon of Israel (Psalm 52:2)

Unfortunately, there are many relationships that are dying a slow, agonizing and public death – not by the blade but by the tongue. The once loving relationship dies as the result of carefully crafted, or carelessly spoken remarks that cut into the heart, mind, and emotions of another.

Whether playfully or purposefully, cutting words have a lasting effect and have divided families as well as other close relationships.



I can’t begin to imagine the sarcastic cuts, the comedic wounds, and the manipulative wording I have incurred upon my friends and loved ones.



Have you ever been cut slicing a vegetable or received a paper cut? Now imagine 1000 of those cuts, purposely, or just playfully coming from someone who might even say that they love you. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re the blade yeilding murderer.

Recklessness words can slowly, painfully, and publiclyrecklesswordspiercelikeaswordy snuff the life out of a person, or a relationship.

Literal death?  Probably not. But death of the relationship, death of the child’s future, death of the career, death of someone’s self image.

King Solomon also said that, “The power of life and death are in the tongue”  
Proverbs 18:21

On a brighter side…
When the relationship is strong, transparent, and trusting, we can all get away with a bit humor.  Regina and I do it all the time.  But please be cautious around people you do not know well.  You never know what they have been through and what “jokes” or references might cut them.

If you’re the one doing the cutting…STOP! 

If you’re getting cut get counsel…ASAP!

Learn how to mourn and forgive. (for more on healing click here)
Wounds rarely go away by themselves.  Without proper care, they tend to get infected and at best leave scars.  I call this death by a thousand memories.

Read more about memories HERE

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