Unpleasant but Beneficial21 November 2019
Bad talk’s a great evil. It’s a terrible thing for others to hurl themselves at you and besmirch you.
It happens. Out of nowhere. Suddenly. Sometimes it’s a fair judgment by God on us; sometimes it isn’t.
- In the first instance, when we ourselves are to blame because we’d been guilty of wicked actions and activities, attributing to others reproaches similar to those aimed at us, it’s our duty not to dwell on how much we’ve suffered but to make sure we put things to right, including ourselves. Then the torrent of abuse against use will stop.
- In the event that they speak badly about us and we can’t remember ever having done so to the detriment of others, it’s natural for us to be upset.
But perhaps we ought to consider that, even in that event, we might not be quite so innocent as we suppose.
Perhaps I behaved badly to others, without realizing and without meaning to.
Perhaps I judged and condemned others.
- Never forget
You’ll be measured by the criteria with which you yourself measure,
You’ll be judged on the basis of your sins.
At the same time, there’s something else we shouldn’t forget:
Every attack against us isn’t solely wicked; it’s also a blessing. It helps us to become better, to acquire humility. A wicked tongue, a poisonous tongue is a ‘messenger from Satan’ as Saint Paul says (2 Cor. 12, 7), sent by God to ‘give us a slap’, to stop us becoming conceited. To help us rein in our vanity, our high opinion of ourself, our self-satisfaction.
God allows this in order to get us to take a good look at ourselves. Because it’s only when we gaze inwards, at our inner world, at the way we react to such verbal attacks, that we can understand what’s hidden inside us. Wrath and anger or kindness and meekness?
If you answer curses directed at you and slander with resentment and bitterness, it’s obvious that you’re full of wrath and anger.
If you answer with patience and forbearance, then you have inner peace and meekness.
So, let’s never forget:
Curses, slander and verbal attacks help us to understand what’s inside us. They help us to realize what our internal state is.
That’s no small matter.