Hello, brothers and sisters and Heartdwellers Family. May you all be blessed and receive the grace of purity of heart and soul.
Upon my embarrassing fall and not really wanting to see what the Lord was showing me in my heart, I had gone to Mother Clare to get clarity as I had mentioned in the previous messages. I confessed what I thought the Lord could be addressing but, if I can be honest, it wasn’t true repentance with contrition. My confession turned into a venting session and my emotions veered me way off as I began to talk about the pain of my past, and past offenses done towards me, and even in Derrick’s and my relationship which was brought up. Mother Clare ended up sending him a very strong letter about some of our issues and the next day I felt pain in my heart.
I kept wondering, “Uh-oh, would Derrick be upset not wanting to come anymore? Did I mess things up?” Because for the next day or so didn’t hear from him at all. Then the following day, I couldn’t help but still feel that pain in my heart of conviction. and seeing how the Lord was right in saying I had a critical and bitter spirit that I needed to overcome. I had also gotten a reading from Frances De Sales’ book called “The Devout Life”, and what did I open up to? Detraction: when one speaks against their neighbor and slanders their character in rash judgment. I realized although I said I had forgiven him I had held on to the pain of my past. And deep down, I demanded an apology for all the wrongs that had been done to me. What is so funny is that as you and I have been praying for the Lord to turn Derrick’s heart and to break him, He has broken me in the process and shown me the wickedness of my own heart. And yes, Derrick needs prayer, but I realize I actually need it more than he. So that morning I couldn’t shake the fact that I needed to call him to apologize and to confess my sins.
I asked the Lord with a rhema as to what to do, and what did I get?
“I want you to speak boldly, gently, and lovingly about the sins you see.”
When I called him, I thought he would be upset or cold with me, but he wasn’t at all. And I began to thank God for his mercy towards me and Blessed Mother and St. Joseph for saving me yet again.
That reading was an eye-opener and so humbling. I cried, repenting, asking the Lord and the Blessed Mother to forgive me for hurting both of their hearts. I realized the pain I was feeling wasn’t Derrick’s heart, but it was Jesus’ heart that was aching. Although God uses everything, and that letter may be needed to be written to him, but my motives for speaking against him were impure, selfish, self-seeking, and displeasing to the Lord, even if it was in confession because I was looking for comfort and not willing to look at my own sins.
So I felt the Lord wanted me to share that reading with you as a message to share boldly, gently, and lovingly about the sins that I now see so clearly in me. May others who struggle with this see it in themselves that we may all repent, see how this hurts others, and the Lord, and ask for the grace to not ever speak against anyone directly or indirectly again, even if it’s true. Lord help us.
The chapter begins;
“Rash judgments lead to quiet, contempt for others, pride, and self-complacency, and a hundred other evils, among which slander stands prominent, the very pest of society. Oh, for a live coal from off God’s altar wherewith to touch the lips of men, that their iniquity high be taken away, and their sin purged, even as the seraphim purified the Prophet, Isaiah. (Isaiah 6,7).
Whoever unjustly deprives his neighbor of his good name is guilty of sin, and is further bound to make reparation, according to this slander: no man can enter heaven with another’s goods, and of all worldly goods non is equal to a good reputation. Slander is a kind of murder, for we have three lives — this spiritual life, which consists of the grace of God, the corporal life, which is in the soul, and the civil life which consists of our reputations. Sin destroys the first, death the second, and slander the third; but the slander is guilty of triple murder with his tongue. He destroys his own soul and that of his hearer by a spiritual homicide and deprives the object of his slander of civil existence. St. Bernard says that Satan has a hold both of the slander and of him who listens to slander, for that he has the tongue of one and the ears of the other. David, speaking of slandered, says: “They have sharpened their tongues like serpents (Ps. 140:3). Aristotle says that the serpent’s tongue is forked, having two points; and such is the tongue of the slanderer, who with one stroke wounds and poisons the ear of his listener and the reputation of him whom he slanders.
I beg you, therefore, never to speak ill of anyone, either directly or indirectly. Beware of falsely attributing crime and sins to your neighbor, or disclosing his secret faults, or exaggerating those which are obvious, or assigning wrong motives to good actions, or denying the good which you know to be or maliciously concealing it or lessening it, for all these things grievously offend God: above all falsely accusing another or denying the truth to his prejudice, which involves the double sin of falsehood and injury. The most refined and venomous slanders are how we present to mean well, or craftily insinuate their poison by means of a light witty joke. “I really love him very much”, one will say, “and altogether he is a good man, but in truth, he was wrong to commit that breach of trust,“ or “that woman is highly virtuous, it is a pity that she slipped once,” and so on. Do you not perceive the duplicity?
The archer draws his arrow as near to him as possible, but his object is that it should fly the farther and while a soul seems willing to retain their slander within themselves, they really launch it but the more fiercely. Slander in the shape of a joke is worse than all, for slander which by itself would go in the ear and out of the other, remains in the mind of the listeners when it is dressed up in some clever and witty saying. “The venom of slander is under their lips,” David says.
Do not publish that such Man is a drunkard, a thief or impure because you have once known him guilty of such a thing; one act does not justify the name. The sun stood still at Joshua’s command and another time it was darkened on account of our Savior, yet no one would say that it was either dark or motionless. Noah and Lot were both drunk once, yet neither was a drunkard, neither was St. Paul bloodthirsty because he had once shed blood nor damned because he had once blasphemed. Before a man deserves the title of being dishonest, he must be advanced in or accustomed to sin. Therefore it is unfair to call a man passionate or a thief because he has once on some occasion been angry or dishonest. Even if a man has long been a liar, we run the risk of falsehood in calling him so. Simon the leper called Magdalene a sinner because she was formality one. But he told a lie, for she was no longer a sinner but a holy penitent and our Savior himself undertook her defense.
The proud Pharisee esteemed the publican as a great sinner, as unjust and adultery or extortioner; but he was strangely mistaken, for at that very time the publican was justified. Surely if God’s goodness is so great that in one instant, we can obtain pardon and grace, how can we tell that he who was a sinner yesterday is the same today? Yesterday must not judge today, nor today yesterday it is the last day which will give the final verdict.
Thus we can never pronounce a man to be wicked without danger of falsehood. If we must needs speak, we must say that he has been guilty of such an evil deed at such a time he misconducted himself or he is now doing so; but we should not condemn today because of yesterday, nor yesterday because of today, and still let tomorrow worry us.
But when you began to desire to cover your neighbor, beware of falling into opposing extremes as some do, who seek to avoid slander, and praise sin. If you come in the presence of a downright slanderer, do not define him by calling him franc and honest-spoken, do not miscall dangerous freedoms by the name of being easy-going or call disobedience zeal or arrogance self-respect, do not fly from slander into flattery and indulgence of sin, but call evil, evil without hesitation, and blame that which is blamable. By this means you will glorify God.
I would add certain conditions;
When you blame the sins of another, consider whether it is profitable or useful to those whom you’re speaking to. Thus to dwell upon the reckless behavior of the young is dangerous; it is safer to simply condemn everything of the sort, avoiding details. Again, if by chance you have influence when certain subjects are brought up, and your silence would give you an appearance of approving sin, then you should speak; if on the contrary you have not been given influence or leadership and something is mentioned do not assume the censorship or make an opinion. Above all you must be exceeding exact in what you say, your tongue when you speak of your neighbor is a knife in the hand of the surgeon who is going to cut between the nerve and the tendons. Your stroke must be accurate, and neither deeper nor lighter than what is needed and while you blame the sin, always spare the sinner as much as possible.
We may speak freely of noxious and infamous sinners but still with charity and compassion and avoid arrogance and presumption and not rejoicing in another’s weakness or downfall, which is the sure sign of an evil cruel heart. Of the enemies of God and His Church, we must speak openly. Since in charity we are about to give the alarm whenever the wolf is found among the sheep. Everyone thinks himself at liberty to justify and censure leaders and to decry whole nations according to his inclinations. Do not indulge in their failings. It is displeasing to God and may invoke you in numberless disputes. When you hear ill of anyone, refute the accusations if you can, in justice to do; if not, apologize for the accused on account of his intentions; and if even that fails, deal compassionately with him remembering yourself and calling to the mind of the other that those who are preserved from sin owe it only to the grace of God, and thus gently check your conversation and if you can mention something else favorably of the accused then do so.”
And that was the end.
Wow, so humbling, insightful, and filled with practical instructions and applications we should all take away. God bless you family until the next message.