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It's best that we watch how we use our words.

Words Can Hurt

Even When Angry at Someone, Don't Throw the Book at Them

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In His day, Jesus understood that many thought the commandment "Thou Shall Not Kill" meant only the physical taking of a person's life. So He explained the attitude of hatred, and that angry words and an unbridled tongue can also lead to another type of murder.

Granted, they may not kill the person physically, but they can do great harm.

Remember the saying, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me?" I remember in elementary school being asked if this were a true statement, and I said yes because words could never hurt like sticks and stones. However, as I grow older I see that it is the painful words — the statements spewed forth by an angry tongue — that can cause the most pain.

"Thou shall not kill." Yes, the example of Cain killing Abel is an example of the murder of the body that happened then and is still happening today. But what of the type of murder that many engage in — the kind employed by those with unresolved anger? They would never resort to guns or knives. No, they use murderous attitudes and prejudices. Their condescending eyes and hateful glances could kill anyone. Jesus warned us about harboring hate and anger.

But there is an even more disturbing type of murder that people employ — even good Christians. It is a so-called type of religious murder. Their weapons are avoidance and apathy. They kill by withholding love and affection. Let me give you an example.

Some time ago, a friend said to me, "It is too bad Aunt Jane is going to her deathbed hating her mother!" I knew Jane, and I was shocked at what he was saying. I always saw her as a happily married, elderly woman who attended daily Mass. She loved her Faith and did not seem to be a person full of anger and revenge.

My friend told me that when Jane was engaged nearly 50 years earlier, her mother made a comment that she should marry someone like her sister's husband, an attorney. After all, Joe was just a common baker and would never be wealthy. This angered Jane so much that she never spoke to her mother again! And when her mother died, the sister and brother-in-law made sure that Jane did not get any inheritance money. This caused a rift between Jane and her sister, and the two did not speak again, even though they lived in the same city. And, yet, carrying all that anger for all those years, Jane was attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion daily.

I sometimes wonder, how many more graces would she have received if she had only forgiven her mother and sister, and sought reconciliation?

Reflect today on whether or not you have been misunderstood and are harboring anger about it. And look inside yourself and meditate if there are instances where your harsh words may have wounded someone you love. Lastly, ask Jesus, The Divine Mercy, to replace your anger and hatred with love. Your openness to dealing with your anger may open the door to your healing and a relationship with a loved one that you desperately desire.

Dr. Bryan Thatcher is the founder of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy (EADM), an apostolate of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception.

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Ana Paula Rodrigues- Brasil - EADM - Oct 11, 2007

Thank you DR Bryan. Your articles always show me many things to think about it.
How many times , we talk with angry and without mercy? We must talk always with love.
Thank you for the advice.
God bless you.
Ana and Family.

Barbara in Moriarty - Oct 9, 2007

Nice article Bryan. Many people need to hear the truth, which is seen in your words, and the truth is Jesus. What we sometimes don't take into consideration is the fact that mean words said about others may be taken wrong or misunderstood. This in turn can cause harm to someone by destroying one's reputation and in fact killing one's reputation, which could lead to losing a wife, family, or job (maybe all). The tongue is sharp and a two-edged sword, we read. The Lord said that it is not what enters the mouth that defiles the body, but that which comes from the mouth. Once we release words into the air, they begin to live and no matter how hard we try to take them back, they have a life of their own now. People may forgive, but find it very hard to forget.

andy - Oct 9, 2007

That was a great cut with the truth knife for me. Sometimes I preach what I dont practice. And this story hurt from me from the truth. I need to wake up and see with Christs eyes . Thank you for the sound advice.

TONIA MAFIANA - Oct 9, 2007


S. - Oct 9, 2007

Almighty Father, give us Your Blessing never to be harsh with words.
Archangel Michael pray for us. "But when the archangel Michael... did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said," The Lord rebuke you" " ( St. Jude 9).

sebastian - Oct 9, 2007

Thanks. God bless you all spreading
the Divine Mercy message.
Let us forgive as our LORD JESUS teaches us to forgive. The modern world is very much in need of the true LOVE. The grace to love our enemies. Purging ourselves with the holy words " God is LOVE "( 1John4:16 ) will give us peace.
To follow Lord Jesus, King of Mercy, is to be merciful.

Troy - Oct 9, 2007

I have known that "kill" or "murder" in the commandments have meant figuratively as well as metaphorically. There are many passages in Scripture that would go further into this and yet 1Tim 3:23-26 comes to mind. Commandment wise, Jesus did make a concise version of the Ten by just saying "Love God and the second, love man." I found some places in the Divine Mercy where some of the sisters would talk about Sr. Faustina in a wrong way. What ever it was they were saying, I'd imagine she cried because it was words that hit her hard and yet, she'd pray for them. A book I recently read, "Bathe Seven Times" by Mother Nadine, a really good read, there was a part in there that states, "Fast from judging others and feast on Jesus in them.
Fast from words that pollute and feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from anger and feast on patience.
Fast from worry and fear and feast on God's providence.
Fast from complaining and feast on appreciation.
Fast from being negative and feast on affirming.
Fast from bitterness and feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern and feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discouragement and any kind of knowledge that depresses and feast on hope.
Fast from curiosity and needing to know and feast on trust and faith.
Fast from thoughts that weaken and feast on promises that inspire."