a word in edgewise
"Keep reminding people of these things and charge them before God to stop disputing about mere words. This does no good and can be the ruin of those who listen." —2 Timothy 2:14
Many of us fight about words a lot. We fight about translations of the Bible, "inclusive language," the wording of prayers, propaganda from so-called pro-choice supporters, and other attempts at verbal manipulation in the media. Some of this fighting about words is godly because we are fighting about the truth and not just about words. But some of this fighting is "worldly, idle talk" (2 Tm 2:16). We must avoid this at all cost, for "those who indulge in it become more and more godless, and the influence of their talk will spread like the plague" (2 Tm 2:16-17).
Words are much more powerful than many people realize. So-called "idle conversation" is not merely idle; it is dangerous and potentially destructive. Jesus stated: "I assure you, on judgment day people will be held accountable for every unguarded word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned" (Mt 12:36-37). Because words can be so powerful, "if a person is without fault in speech he is a man in the fullest sense, because he can control his entire body" (Jas 3:2).
"Where words are many, sin is not wanting; but he who restrains his lips does well" (Prv 10:19). So let us "hope in silence" (Lam 3:26), be slow to speak (Jas 1:19), and, when called by God, speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15).
Prayer: Father, be Lord of my words.
Promise: "Jesus approved the insight of this answer and told him, 'You are not far from the reign of God.' " —Mk 12:34
Praise: St. Norbert encouraged both clergy and laity to practice the ideals of the gospel life. He followed his own advice, giving away his possessions to follow Jesus as a priest.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, December 4, 2001
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 10, 2001