Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Loving Others with our Thoughts and Words

We are called to love others and have mercy upon them with our thoughts and words. 

I am guilty of “rash judgment” if I assume as true “without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor."  To use a hypothetical example, I assume that because my neighbor’s car is always in her driveway that she is lazy and does not work.  Later on I find out that she carpools, and her friend drives her back and forth to work each day, picking her up in the morning and dropping her off at night at hours when I am at work and am not home.  I was too quick to judge; I made a decision in my mind about someone without enough evidence. 

I commit the sin of detraction if I “without objectively valid reason, disclose another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them.”  The information is true but I should not tell it to others.  For example, I happen to know that my friend Joe has a serious addiction to gambling that he is ashamed of and does not want his wife to know about.  He revealed this to me in a conversation that he asked me to keep confidential.  I proceed to put it on my Facebook page and Twitter account, making a joke about how “Joe has single handedly kept the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in business.”

I commit calumny if I, by remarks contrary to the truth, harm the reputation of others and give occasion for false judgments concerning them (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2477).  The information is false and I spread it to others.  For example, I am furious at the basketball coach, because he rarely plays my son.  I spread a rumor that twenty years ago the coach sexually abused a minor: one of his nieces. It is a completely fabricated story/accusation.

Do I try to destroy others with my thoughts and words?  Or do I try to love them? 

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