I noticed an unusual act of charity in speech today that really impressed me, perhaps especially because one of my besetting sins is criticalness and judgment. Sometimes I keep my little critique-y commentary to myself, but sometimes (usually to my husband) I just let fly with my tactful yet pointed assessment of something that's actually none of my business, rationalizing it to myself as "honest", "authentic", or "concerned". I'm working on it, but God's not done yet.
Today, we went out for brunch after Mass with several friends. One of them is a guy who I already realized is a wonderfully enthusiastic flat-out servant of God. He was talking about a priest-friend of his who is suffering considerable health problems that are greatly hampering his life and ministry and who, despite it all, hasn't been able to quit smoking. Did he at all imply in word or tone any contempt or criticism for this? Not at all. I believe his phrase was, "It has a strong grip on him that he hasn't yet been able to break." There was no hinted implication of weakness or poor judgment.
I was stunned. In a quiet way, relevant facts were presented without either criticism or the mealy-mouthed "it's no big deal" rationale which is my other automatic response to such things.
I'm sure my friend didn't have to think twice about how he spoke because he's been yielding up more and more of himself to Christ for decades. I admire him and would like to be more like that.