We need to use our words wisely for in our words we have the power to bring both happiness and grief. We can either build someone up who has suffered or add to their burden by thoughtless words uttered by inexperience if not downright ignorance. It helps if we have gained a sound knowledge and grounding in Scripture for as the Word reveals to us, "Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing." We are all a work in progress, and at times we too are in need of an encouraging word but also one guided in wisdom, lest we speak more as a longing to be liked than speak the Truth as revealed to us through the Word and the Teachings of the Church.
We must always be aware that every person needs to feel loved, validated and needed. So in order to be truly wise, we must weigh our words for they will act upon the heart like a flower ready to bloom or they will crush the bud before it has a chance to reach full maturity. So before we speak remember to examine your own inner motives, and to pray to the Holy Spirit so we may speak in wisdom so as to edify the recipient rather than cause harm and hinder the spiritual path of another. As Thomas Kempis says, "In all your actions keep your end in sight, and how you will stand before your judge, your God, from whom nothing is hidden."
At times we may not know that our actions and words are harming another in that our overzealousness instead of helping may in fact harm the recipient, St. Philip Neri wisely says, "If you wish to go to extremes, let it be in sweetness, patience, humility and charity." When our friends come to us with their souls in anguish and the wounds within exposed, do we rub salt in them or do we with utmost compassion become a balm to the troubled and pained individual?
We may think what has words to do with spiritual warfare? This is so because it is from the mind that sin begins and is then carried out in both word and deed. For Satan knows our weakness, if we are quick to take offense he will send us offensive people. If we are over sensitive, he will send people to criticize our every word and action, but if some are lazy and apathetic, Satan leaves them to themselves, for they are already his. So if we think that Satan has no use for words then many will be sadly mistaken, for Satan is a sower of malice, and discord is its seed upon which hate becomes its fruit.
On the other hand God also understands our weakness and will put trials in our path not to break us but to strengthen that which is weakest in our nature. So if offensive people cross our paths it enables us the chance to practice patience. If one is over sensitive and meets a person with little sensitivity this again enables the person to practice charity.
For everything Satan tries to do, God will undo, through prayer.
This should teach us to measure each word as if our soul depended on it for it does, for when we wound another, we wound Christ. We need to take heed of our words and motives, but in order to do so we also need to know what is pleasing for God to hear, and that is words spoken in love, even when correcting another. In the words of another great Saint, "A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love." St. Basil is correct for what we give to others and how we treat them will affect our own relationship with our Heavenly Father.
We are all at times in need of a kind word, a gentle reminder that all is not lost and the knowledge that we are loved.
Written by Marie