Saturday, June 25, 2011

Verbal Warfare

Sometimes I am frightened by words. We have more words today than ever before in history, and more ways of saying them. So many of our words boil down to people saying things to people about other people. We call it conversation or (bless us) "concern" for one another, or--depending on our media platform--opinion, journalism, scholarship, analysis, information, exchange of views, etc., etc., etc.

What so much of it really is, in the end, is one form or another of self-affirmation, gossip, unnecessary curiosity, detraction, calumny, or cynicism. We use words to assert ourselves, or to make war on one another. And our words express what is inside our hearts. We have hearts full of violence.

I have asked myself, "How often, when I speak or write, am I truly seeking to edify reality, to affirm what is good? How often are my words aimed at distraction, or at drawing attention to myself?" How many wasted words! And yet I have a desire to speak the truth. I have the desire and the prayer that my words might be works of mercy and instruments of peace. And yet I am always running into myself.

I think perhaps we speak foolishly because we are insecure. We seek attention with our words, even at the expense of others. Why? Because we are afraid that we are not loved. Or, rather, we have forgotten that we are loved. We are not nourished by a vital connection with the One who loves us.

We need prayer. And not just more words of prayer. We need silence.

We need to let Him love us.

O Lord, grant that we may speak from hearts full of Your love and mercy and peace.