BY YOUR WORDS

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Let us  start with a  story. There were two friends in a forest, a  donkey and a horse. While they were grazing in fresh green grass, suddenly the donkey   asked the  horse; ‘What is the color of this grass”?  Horse had no doubt. He said it is  green. But the  donkey said it was red! Horse was taken aback by this stupid  statement and he tried his level best to convince his friend. The  color of grass is green and not red. But as a donkey, he was  stubborn and was never willing to  accept the truth.

While the quarrel was going on, they saw the lion king approaching them.  With the desire to get   a good arbitration in their seemingly unsolvable dispute, they requested the lion to decide the case and pronounce the judgment.  After hearing both parties the  lion  called the horse and  awarded him  the punishment of  ten slaps. The horse was  surprised again. Why should he, who  was always right be punished and the  donkey who gave the  wrong answer and  stubbornly stuck to it be spared? He asked the lion king the logic of  punishing him and  not the donkey. To this the lion replied; “You are punished  not because your  answer was wrong but because you  responded to  a stupid argument. It is  not expected from an intelligent animal like you”.

Here ends the story but the  moral continues. Wise people  never get into unnecessary arguments.  Now look  back and  count the number of times we spent our time and energy in unnecessary and unwarranted  discussions thereby  bringing    to our   status as intelligent men. We know from the  very beginning that certain issues are so profane to the   core that  a believer should never  go near it. Some other issues are intended to  trap us in useless discussions and arguments. There are also  issues    so silly in nature  that even nursery children will avoid them. But we  find time to  read them, study them and  respond to  them; all in vain!

Paul has warned us sufficiently in advance about the  risks of  engaging  in  unwarranted issues, because he was wise  enough to know its consequences. ‘Avoid the profane chatter and contradictions of  what is falsely called  knowledge; by professing it  some have  missed the mark as regards the faith’ (1 Tim 6:20-21). God does not want us to miss the  mark as regards our faith. Jesus himself was candid in saying that we will be   held accountable for each and every word that comes out of our mouth. ‘I tell you, on the day of  judgment you will have to give  an account for every careless word you utter, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned’ (Mt 12:36).

We are blessed with grace not to waste it  in  unnecessary  discussions and quarrels. God might, in his infinite mercy  forgive  those who in  their ignorance drag us into  talks and  discussions that do not  fit  our  status as  heirs of the  Lord’s promise. But remember that  the Lord’s yardstick  for us  will  be different.

Let us  spend the days of this lent in a spirit of silence. Take a vow that we will  not respond to anything that would harm us spiritually. Incessant debates, discussions, and arguments  about trivial matters are reserved for   those who are not   fortunate to have this knowledge.  Let us take a pledge to use words only when they are  absolutely necessary, and to ensure that the words that we use will not deprive us of  our Gods’ pleasure.

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