One of the most powerful weapons is our tongue. The words we utter have a tremendous power be it for good or for evil.Pope Francis constantly reminds us of the importance of vigilance over our whole being; and this includes our tongue and the words that come forth. Time and time again Pope Francis strongly encourages us to avoid gossip, back-biting, careless speech, criticism, negativism, sarcasm, lies and slander that damage others.
Saint James reminds us that, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, (James 1:19). James Chapter 3 speaks about controlling our tongue. St James explains about the dangers of the tongue and the damage that this small instrument can do. We can tame all animals, but not the tongue. It is small, but like a little spark that can start a huge fire, the tongue can do irreparable damage.
A bitter or sarcastic word can leave wounds in the soul that may never heal. On the contrary, a kind word motivated by a pure and loving heart can lift somebody out of the pits of desolation.
Jesus warns us, “Every word that comes out of our heart will be judged,” (Mt 12:37). He also encourages us not to waste words, but to use them effectively and to keep to the point whenever possible: “Let your language, be ‘Yes’ for ‘yes’ or ‘No’ for ‘no’; the rest comes from the evil one!”
Every person on earth can understand the Golden Rule: “Do to others what you would like them to do to you.” Why not apply this Golden Rule of Jesus when we speak to others.
Our words should serve ‘to build up’ our neighbour. We must counteract negative and poisonous speech by using our tongue to lift others closer to God. The Word of God reminds us that he who does not control his speech is not on the highway to holiness. However, the man who controls his tongue is being led by the Holy Spirit and is following the pathway to holiness.
In the Holy Season of Lent, let us fast from all words that could offend others. God is not pleased when we offend others with our speech. Like Mary, who kept the Most High close to her heart, let us learn to praise God in the way we live our lives. Let us say with Mary: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”
(LK 1: 46).