The Just Man is Not Violent With His Words
yes, words can be like sticks and stones
Looking at the definition of violence in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, violence is an “intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force”, causing “injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation.” The dictionary also mentions that a violent act is “not natural.” It goes against the nature of something.
When we say that the just man is not violent with his words, that means that he recognizes the nature of who he is speaking with, and who is speaking. Speaking in a way which violates the nature of who we are speaking to, or who we are, is to commit violence.
When we are speaking with someone, we are speaking with a person, who, by their very nature, has inestimable dignity and worth – made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). A person is always to be regarded as a subject of love, and never an object of any sort of use (Karol Wojtyla, Love and Responsibility, p. 178). A “person is a good towards which the only proper and adequate attitude is love” (Love and Responsibility, p. 41). To speak to a person in any other way is to treat them contrary to their dignity, contrary to their nature, and to do violence to them. Because justice is to grant someone their due, what is owed to them, we owe it to other persons in justice to speak to them in a way recognizing their dignity and their nature. By the same truth, we must always speak in charity so as to not act in a way contrary to our nature, contrary to what we have been made for. To speak violently is to commit violence to another and to ourselves. Thus, the just man is not violent with his words.
From St. Francis de Sales Introduction to the Devout Life:
Moreover, when there is nothing to stir your wrath, lay up a store of meekness and kindliness, speaking and acting in things great and small as gently as possible. Remember that the Bride of the Canticles is described as not merely dropping honey, and milk also, from her lips, but as having it “under her tongue;” that is to say, in her heart. So we must not only speak gently to our neighbour, but we must be filled, heart and soul, with gentleness; and we must not merely seek the sweetness of aromatic honey in courtesy and suavity with strangers, but also the sweetness of milk among those of our own household and our neighbours; a sweetness terribly lacking to some who are as angels abroad and devils at home!
Catechism 2262: In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord recalls the commandment, “You shall not kill,”62 and adds to it the proscription of anger, hatred, and vengeance. Going further, Christ asks his disciples to turn the other cheek, to love their enemies.63 He did not defend himself and told Peter to leave his sword in its sheath.
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