Sunday, September 20, 2009

How I'd rather speak

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.


Kansas Bob said...

I wish that I could not relate Roz :(

Bruce said...

Thanks Roz. That's a good word. Your friend encourages me to try to hang in there, too.

Marie said...

You know, sometimes I think this is a matter of imagination. It's my POV that judgment is fine if you know all the facts, but when it comes to the human heart we can never know all the facts. We can make a judgment that murder is wrong, but we can never judge whether one man killing another is actually murder since we can't ever know what is in the heart of the man who kills.
But for most situations, it is hard for us to really believe things aren't "as they seem" and the person who holds the smoking gun is a murderer. It helps if we are gifted with enough imagination that we can comprehend of a scenario in which the accused did not commit the act, or committed the act with a clean heart.
Sounds to me like your friend is capable of imagining a situation in which a physical addiction enslaves someone, and that kills his desire to pronounce judgment on a smoker?
Nice story.



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