Let’s focus on controlling what can become our worst enemy our tongues. Let’s say no to gossip and to all the other hurtful things
that we can say to others! The people around us are very precious. When we are
down, others can help us get up. When we are sad, others will cheer us up. When
we feel we cannot go on, others will motivate us and encourage us. There is a
proverb that says: “He who throws stones drives away birds; he who insults a
friend breaks up the friendship.” Nobody is an island. We all need each other,
especially when we are lonely or sad. But if we scare away everyone who cares
for us by misusing our tongues, then we will inevitably find ourselves very
When we misuse the
tongue, it harms us and others. We need to realize the importance of avoiding
its bad habits. With the tongue we: lie, gossip, give away secrets and speak
angry words. All these things will result in us becoming increasingly lonely.
Why? Because people try to avoid pain at any cost, and lies, gossip, angry
words and the betrayal of secrets hurt. Nobody likes pain, so we cannot blame
people who drift away and avoid us if we have hurt them.
Sometimes the damage done by our words is obvious, and
sometimes it is not. But the damage is not any less because we cannot see it.
If we want loyal, caring, good friends, we have to be one ourselves. We need to
be careful, so we do not lose all those people who love us. When we gossip and
lie, we destroy the peace of those around us, and good people will after that
do anything to avoid us. The only ones who will be left around us will be other
gossips and liars, who will sooner or later end up gossiping or lying about us.
The rule is simple: If we
have nothing nice to say, it’s better to say anything at all. This does not
mean that we don’t criticize or admonish the people we love. Criticism given in
love is helpful and valuable. When our intention is to help and make things
better, we still need to think carefully before saying it, and if we are still
convinced it is a good thing to do, we can go ahead and speak. But if we are
going to say something out of anger, jealousy, envy or revenge, or when the
intention is to hurt, then our words are better not said. We must always think
before we talk!
The tongue can do a great
deal of damage, but the tongue can also do a great deal of good as long as it is controlled by love. Without love, nothing can bring us
good, but every action inspired by love, even if it seems small and
unimportant, will bring some fruit afterward. Let’s make an effort to control
our tongues. Any time we are trying to accomplish something of value, every
time we want to do something good, we need to put effort in it. After a while,
all our efforts will pay off and the results of our efforts will be good because when a good thing is repeated several times, then it becomes a
habit. Let’s make it a habit to use our tongues for loving, encouraging,
motivating, congratulating and everything else that is good. We can change the
world, one word at a time!
“The tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions.
Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a
fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body
and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by
Gehenna…With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings
who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and
cursing. This need not be so, my brothers. Does a spring gush forth from the
same opening both pure and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, produce
olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can salt water yield fresh.” (James
“He tells the truth who states what he is sure of, but a lying witness
speaks deceitfully.” (Proverbs 12:17)
“He who guards his mouth protects his life; to open wide one’s lips
brings downfall.” (Proverbs 13:3)
So…let’s keep talking about love. How do we know when, and
if, it is love that we are feeling? Many of us have thought that we were “in
love” on more than a few occasions. We have been sure that “this time this is
the one.” At least for us girls, it starts very early; we have strong feelings
and can’t fight them. Like fools, all we do is think about the person who has
stolen our hearts. And as soon as we are not around that person, we wonder when
he will call. So we wait desperately next to the phone, dreaming of that last
tender kiss. We go to bed dying of anticipation for the next school day,
wondering if that special person will be there, hoping that at least we’ll get
to say hi.
In my opinion, “love” is
no less “love” because it is in the heart of a young person; it can be as
strong as, or even stronger than, the feelings we may experience when we grow
older. We daydream in the same way while we listen to love songs or gaze into
the sky on a starry night. We wish with the same intensity that it will last
forever. We plan and dream about the same things, and then we suffer and hurt
the same way when the relationship comes to an end.
So how can we tell when love is for real? I
think the answer to this question is not what is most important. Are you
surprised? Maybe a bit confused? Let me explain. Love is real. Love is out
there for every single one of us who believes in it. What will determine if we
will find the love of our lives? What will determine if we will be happy and if
one day we’ll be able to experience the great blessing of real love in our
When we feel in love, we
should not be afraid; we should just let things flow. But there are a few rules
we should follow if we want to have a better chance at finding true love.
First, we must be real. No acting. No role playing. Do you know what I mean?
Many times we try to give a certain impression, as if we are picking a
character we are going to play in a movie. We decide what type of partner we
want to be and what kind of relationship we want to have without being
ourselves or allowing things to happen naturally.
But if we force things
in one way or another, if we pretend to be someone we are not, or if we act in
some way that we normally wouldn’t, then we start out without truth. And when
there is no truth, there is no chance for a good relationship. We have to start
our relationships with as much honesty as we possibly can. We must be honest
with our partner and with ourselves. In this way, we build the foundation of
our relationship on rock.
The second thing is to
let things flow. Everything is perfect if we trust in God. Everything happens
for the best when we allow things to develop naturally and we know in our
hearts that we have been honest. So, if the relationship does not work out,
even though we might be feeling immense pain, we can find the strength to let
go. By trusting that things always happen for the best, we allow God to extend
his loving hand to us. He wants us to find our soul mate. He wants us to find
our calling in life. He wants us to be happy.
So why don’t we all do
this? There are many wrong reasons for why we may pick and/or hold on to the
wrong person. Here are some of them:
Ø We are lonely: We want to feel loved, special and
cared for. We see couples everywhere; love is in the songs on the radio, at the
movies and on the TV. We rush into a relationship because we are so tired of
being alone. It seems as if we are the only one who has not been able to have a
steady relationship. All of our friends seem to be married or have
boyfriends/girlfriends. We feel there must be something wrong with us! Are we
not lovable? We think of how our family loves us, but we think they have to
because they are stuck with us. Sometimes even our family members don’t love us
as they should. And so we want that special someone to come along. Someone who
will sweep us off our feet. Someone who will love us because he thinks we are
amazing. Someone who wants to spend every minute next to us. Someone who dreams
with us. And we wonder if that is ever going to happen to us. Are we good
enough, lucky enough? Millions of questions start to flood our minds, questions
that cause fear and insecurity, questions that lead us to make wrong choices
and big mistakes.
Ø We feel that we are getting too old: We convince ourselves
that time is running out. The funny thing about this is that it does not
necessarily hit us at a particular age. We can get bitten by the “age bug lie”
at any age. Once our brain believes it, that is enough. We easily fall for it
and end up obsessed with the idea that by a particular age we should have found
true love. If we fall for this lie, we run a very big risk of one of two
things. The first one is that we can end up rushing things and settling for
someone, without giving it too much thought. We are driven by the idea that we
do not want to be single after a particular age, and we are terrified by the
thought that we might end up alone. The second one is that we may end up in a
depression because we have reached the deadline we set for ourselves and we are
still alone. Last time I checked, there was no “Secret Book of Life” that tells
us by what age we must be married or at what age we will find our soul mate. It
is different for everyone. For each of us, it may happen at a completely
different time in our lives. For some of us, it will happen in our teens, and
we will marry our high school sweetheart. Others of us will experience it in
our twenties, still others in our thirties, forties, fifties and so on. The
important thing is not to rush and to enjoy our life as it is. Every day we
live is a gift, and many things are one-time blessings, which means they will
not happen twice in a lifetime. That is why, if we end up not enjoying a
particular stage in our life, one day we will regret it when we realize how
foolish we were and how little faith we had in ourselves and in love itself.
Ø We want to get away from home: Depending on our
cultural background, this may be a big incentive to rushing to find a partner.
But this is not the right reason, and when we do something for the wrong reason,
usually things end up going wrong. We might think that by getting out of our
parents’ house we are going to be happy, but it might end up not being so. If
our motivation for making a life with someone is to get out of the house, we
will probably pick the wrong partner. And if we are with the wrong person, once
we start sharing our life with that person, it will become clear that we have
exchanged one bad situation for another, and at a big cost our happiness.
Ø We lack self-confidence: It is very hard for
our self-esteem not to be affected when everyone we know has a boyfriend or is
married, everyone except us. This can be dangerous because it is in times like
this that our minds can play tricks on us and convince us of many lies. We then
start giving in and believing these lies, and in the end we might end up making
a big mistake or becoming very unhappy. A partner does not make us a better,
happier, prettier, wiser person. We make ourselves a better and happier
person. Don’t count on anyone else to make you feel good about yourself. It is
God who can change us and transform our lives from the inside out, through the
power of prayer. A partner cannot do this for us, and in fact many times the
wrong mate can greatly reduce our self-confidence. Let’s feel good about
ourselves independent of other people. Let’s feel good about ourselves because
we are God’s precious child, and because we are unique and God made only one of
us. Only then will we feel good about ourselves next to someone else;
otherwise, we set ourselves up for a miserable life.
Ø We need some love and attention: We humans will do
almost anything for attention and love. Actually, most of the things we do
(good and bad) are in some way to get that love and attention we so much crave.
But we need to focus on getting our love from the source of all love: God. God
is love, and when we have invited God into our hearts, we have all the love we
need. When our relationship with God is strong and it is His love that is
feeding us, then we stop craving the attention of others. If we are not careful
about this, we may end up accepting someone as a partner just to get love and
attention. This can be a recipe for disaster. We might end up with a broken
heart or end up breaking someone else’s heart. Neither option is good.
Ø Our hormones are rushing us: Sometimes our hormones
can really confuse us. We feel a rush of emotion and passion. We feel shaky and
hot. We feel butterflies in our stomach. We feel so much emotion it shakes us
from the inside out. But we need to be careful because we can feel these exact
same feelings with a person who is completely wrong for us. Big passions do not
equal big love. We have to try to sort things out with a cool head. Sometimes
all we are feeling is a strong but temporary rush that will pass if we breathe
deeply and give ourselves some time in order to think straight. Interpreting
that rush as love can mean ending up with the wrong person. Be careful.
Ø We feel pressure from our family: Sometimes, by trying to be a great help, our family members can end up
becoming our worst problem. Consider and respect your family’s opinion and
advice. But do not give in to pressure and do something that you will regret
later on in your life.
Ø We feel sorry for the other person: Sometimes someone can
be very persistent. But we cannot accept someone as a partner only because we
feel sorry for that person. How long do you think we can pretend? Such
relationships don’t last, and it will be much worse when we can no longer keep
pretending and things start falling apart. We should always be truthful with
others and fair to ourselves. We must be kind, but we must be honest too. Love
is an area where lies of any kind only bring heartache.
Ø We get into a role, and we end up confused: Believing our own make-believe world, we might dive into a relationship
that only exists in our imagination. We refuse to see the other person as he
really is, and the situation as it really is. If we do this, one day we will
wake up to a life that we do not want, with a person whom we do not love.
Ø We are used to someone: Do you know what is worse than
breaking off a long-term relationship and accepting that we have wasted many
years of our life on the wrong person? What is worse is to not break up and
waste our whole life. If we put off the inevitable, things will only get more
and more complicated. Feelings will get stronger; marriage will happen; babies
will come. We cannot allow “feeling comfortable” to steal our happiness. Love
is the one area in life in which we must not settle for comfortable, for OK,
for less risky, for less hassle. When it comes to love, we should not settle.
We should seek true love with every bit of our soul.
Ø We accept a partner for any other “wrong reason”: I could write a whole book about just this topic, but I think by now you
should have gotten the point. In summary: If we believe in love, then love will
be a reality for us. If we look for love, love will find us. If we are honest
in regard to love, we will experience honesty in our relationships. Give love,
and you will receive love! Trust in God and He will bless you with the love of
“Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” (1
“He tells the truth who states what he is sure of, but a lying witness
speaks deceitfully.” (Proverbs 12:17)
“ Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is
from the evil one.” (Mathew 5:37)