One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?”
The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.” -Exodus 2:11-13
Here’s the thing that everyone knows…
Murdering an enemy is just a small step from betraying a friend.
Moses discovered this the hard way. He was an incredibly privileged, yet terribly torn, man. Sentenced to death at birth but rescued through the cunning of his mother and the compassion of a princess. Raised in the luxury of a palace while watching the victimization of his people right outside the window.
I can imagine him watching his people struggle under their burden, filling with righteous rage at the indignities being forced upon God’s chosen people. He knows something is terribly wrong and he’s trying to discover just how he fits into the horror that’s playing out before his very eyes. That’s the moment when he turns and sees a guard savagely beating one of the slaves.
And he snaps.
He looks both ways, sees no witnesses and kills the Egyptian. He buries the body and goes on, no one the wiser. The beating is over, the slave is rescued and everything is as it shoud be, right?
There’s just one little problem…
Moses looked both ways and saw no one, causing him to assume there were no witnesses. He never imagined how the actual slave he was rescuing would react. It never crossed Moses’ mind that he wouldn’t be thrilled. I mean, one minute he was helpless before the whip of his enslaver. The next minute, he was safely in the company of his savior. Who hadn’t blinked an eye at committing cold-blooded murder.
It wasn’t self-defense. It wasn’t even a daring rescue. Moses looked one way, then the other, calculated his risk of getting caught and moved in for the kill. Ultimately, ending the fight was obviously the right thing to do, but it’s equally obvious that jumping to murder wasn’t.
And so, at that moment, the slave knew only one thing… Moses believed the end justified the means and would do whatever was necessary to achieve his desired result.
And the slave’s burning question was, “Just how long will it be till Moses needs me out of the way to get what he wants?”
Remember this… If you’re willing to murder an enemy to achieve your goal, you’ll eventually be willing to betray a friend.
The trust of your friends largely depends on how ruthless you are with your enemies.
What’s your reputation?