Words of Love and Truth
Lin Daniels of Gardner, MA, USA
Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. -Romans 12:17-18
I was already frustrated and in ill humor, so when my friend directed a small, untimely word at me, I pounced. Even as the flood of angry words was spouting from my mouth, I could behold their devastating effects (Proverbs 29:11). My friend, looking shocked, made a quick exit from my presence. I immediately sought her out to apologize. As I asked forgiveness, I tried to soften my blows with, “Don’t take it personally.” Oops! Wrong again!
She replied, “How can I not take it personally, when you said that in front of the whole world!” Gulp… To be clear, it wasn’t really before the entire nation, but it was overheard by many, far too many. Isn’t that true when we speak like the fool “the tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly” (Proverbs 15:2 NIV)? Gush is defined as to gush forth, to emit (a foul odor), belch out, utter (abundantly). Yes, our foolish words are offensive in every manner! They can be akin to a foul odor that, once present, is hard to remove (Proverbs 8:17). They also tend to be “abundant,” an overflow of words, usually far too many of them (Proverbs 10:18-19). And I personally would add “loud” to that list! When I spew foolish words, they are seldom in a low, confidential tone.
In contrast, the “tongue of the wise commends knowledge.” Commend means to make well, (literally) sound or beautiful, make cheerful, make sweet. It seems like these words promote healing! They are the polar opposite of the fool’s words which target the unsuspecting and end in destruction.
May we seek God’s face and utter God’s words of love and truth. And in our moments of failure, may we quickly make restoration to the offended one and ask God for forgiveness.
“Over the years we melt into what we seek” (Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year).
We are in the threshold between seasons in the Christian calendar. You may have been noticing the physical transitions of the seasons wherever you live as some enter the depths of winter and others the warmth of summer. The seasons are a visible reminder that even among the most predictable rhythms and routines of our lives, change is always happening. The events of our moments, days, weeks, years form us and transform us over time. We enter each season different from when we arrived here last. This is the nature of this cyclical journey of faith. In these final days of the Christian calendar and the season of Ordinary time, there is opportunity to take a sacred pause, to notice how you arrive in this threshold. What have you been formed by this year? What has been deepening you as you’ve lived through another cycle of this life of faith?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.