Most of us can recall times we thoughtlessly said something to someone and then longed with all our heart to take it back and start over with kindness and support. Now, given the ease of being able to express thoughts, feelings, and opinions online, we have even more opportunities to choose whether we communicate in a moral and humane way or not.
It’s worth taking a second look at what’s motivating our words. I’ve found that what we say – or don’t say, for that matter – and when we say it can become more than just empty words when our thought is aligned with God. When God’s goodness impels our words, this can benefit everyone involved.
My study of Christian Science has led me to look to Christ Jesus as the model for Christian living. His deep, humble unity with God impelled all he said and did. It gave him the confidence to remain silent when challenged by those opposed to his teaching and healing, to ask a question that cut through material superficiality, and to assert with complete authority the truth about our relation to God, our divine Parent. “I say only what I am told to by the one who sent me; and he is Truth,” Jesus said (John 8:26, Living Bible).
This was the basis from which Jesus not only spoke and acted but also healed. He proved God’s presence by yielding to divine Love’s guidance of his every motive and thought.
Not that words alone do anything, but they are edifying when they truly represent the spiritual power and presence of God. There is an incident in the Bible where Jesus is aggressively confronted by an angry group of religious leaders ready to stone a woman who was caught in adultery. Wanting to put Jesus on the spot, they asked him persistently what he thought about stoning her, as they considered it required under Moses’ law.
Jesus, silent and without a single indication of reactiveness, stoops down and starts writing on the ground. Although there is no way of knowing Jesus’ exact thoughts, it is easy to imagine him pausing to turn away from the human circumstances and opinions to listen to God, Love, the very source of his being.
When Jesus finally stood up, his merciful words silenced the criticism of the angry group and lifted the condemnation from the woman. He told the group, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7). One by one, they left without harming her. Then with authority Jesus told the woman that he did not condemn her, either, but counseled her not to sin anymore.
The Christ, as described in Mary Baker Eddy’s primary book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” is “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (p. 332). Each of us can strive to follow Jesus’ example and let what we express to others reflect the divine messages of love, purity, and strength that God communicates to each of us.
An opportunity to find the right words came to me once after an incident when I overcame feeling frozen with fear before a singing performance. In my moment of need before my performance, I had turned wholeheartedly to God in prayer, as I have found helpful many times over the years.
As I did so, I felt God’s love wash over me like a wave, enabling me to tangibly feel my true, spiritual nature as the expression of divine Love. The fear melted, and I performed with absolute freedom.
Right after, a young man who had noticed how nervous I’d been before came to me to ask for encouragement before his performance. It was easy to let that fearless clarity I’d glimpsed of our unity with God, divine Love, impel my response. I told this young man, with absolute assurance, to trust God. This was minutes before he went on stage, and the words had an impact. He was so happy after he finished his wonderful performance.
Making sure our thoughts are aligned with the goodness that God is pouring forth ceaselessly to each of us, enables us to speak words that naturally edify, bring hope, and inspire comfort.