“If any one says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20-21)
Words are powerful but actions speak louder. If we truly love God, it means God dwells in our hearts, that is, we become God carriers. Anyone who encounters us is able to feel God’s presence around us. St. John says, “No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us.” (1 John 4:12). It is not possible for a person to have God abiding within him or her and still hate someone. That is why St. John tells us that anyone who says ‘I love God’ but hates his brother is a liar.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus is given a scroll of the prophet Isaiah and he read a passage concerning Himself. Jesus did not simply read the passage as the other priests and synagogue officials would do, Jesus made it clear that this prophecy was being fulfilled. Luke tells us that the audience was held spell bound listening to Jesus, they spoke well of Him and wondered at the gracious words that came out of His mouth.
When there is love in our heart it shows in the kind of words we use but when the heart is bitter, full of hate and filth, our words become poisonous. One easy test of the depth of our love for God is to examine our vocabulary. Even in the heat of your pain, ensure your words are edifying. St. Paul teaches us: “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29).
Choose your words properly but then, the easiest way to control your words is to control your heart; make sure there is no atom of hatred there. Fill your mind with good thoughts and your words will be gracious and edifying. As the saying goes: “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” St. Peter teaches us: “As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God.” (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Don’t tell people how much you love God, just make sure there is no hatred in your heart. Your life itself would testify to your love for God.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to use the right words always. Amen
Bible Study: 1 John 4:19-5:4, Ps. 72:1-2,14-15,17, Luke 4:14-22).