Even worse than humanity’s general tendency to use our tongues as swords is the fact that so many Christians do it to each other.
It has always been so, because we are being perfected but few if any among us are perfected yet. But we must not accept this state of affairs. St. Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, is horrified that people there were filing lawsuits against each other and dragging one another into court. This is a failure on their part, he tells them.
“Why not rather put up with injustice?” he asks (1 Corinthians 6:7). “Why not let yourselves be cheated?” We are such poor followers of the humble Christ, who allowed himself to be counted among sinners, yet without sin.
I’ve found Bishop Robert Barron to be articulate and helpful on Christian nonviolence and enemy love. I recently finished one of his early books, The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path. On the issue of Christian vs. Christian, Barron says pointedly:
Before they even get around to loving or evangelizing their enemies, at the very least they ought to love one another, brothers and sisters in the same family; before they dare to teach others the way of peace, they ought to stop tearing themselves apart.
It might mean putting up with injustice. That’s exactly what happened on the Cross. There is no love without sacrifice.
This post is part of a series (see A Lenten Invitation from a Babbling Brook: Focus on Speech and Silence). To receive new installments, you’re invited to “Follow SparrowFare by Email” by placing your email address in the FOLLOW box in the sidebar. Please share the posts that speak to you. In this contentious time, let’s spread the word about the importance of our words.