Catholics and Charity

Hi,

My now fiance and I have been reading through the gospels and something that I have noticed Jesus talks about very often and with great emphasis is the power of words:

“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” Matthew 12:36-37

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister*[c] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[d] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell." Matthew 5:21-22**

This really stuck when I read it this time. This is actually a very common theme in the scripture. Words are a really, really big deal. I have found that I’ve stumbled in this regard many times in my dealings with people especially on the Internet, including here in CAF.

I really struggled with this tonight. There was a facebook argument going on about a topic that wasn’t of great importance that I was contributing to. There is a woman from my former community who is Catholic and a very active pro-life activist who was chiming in and being very rude and nasty and uncharitable. I said I was sorry if I said anything to offend her, and I tried to make peace, but she just responded with more sarcasm and rudeness. I quoted a verse from Colossians about being gracious in speech and told her I would pray for her but she just responded the same way as before. I decided that any further discussion would bring more harm than good so I logged off.

I am just discouraged because even though I was legitimately offended and hurt by her really nasty words, she never apologized, she never humbled herself even an inch, she just kept acting as if I was her worst enemy when I am supposed to be her brother in Christ. I seriously don’t understand that. I tried very hard to stay on the high ground and be kind and charitable, and this usually brings peace with anyone, including non-Christians. But this woman is a Catholic! She is supposed to be guided by the holy spirit! How can a Catholic act so ugly toward another person let alone another Catholic? And especially if it is over something so ridiculous as a TV show!

I see this with people on the internet everywhere. I wonder if people are like that in real life or if the Internet just brings out the worst in people. It makes me want to just go offline completely. I do appreciate the kind people out there on the web though who uplift and who pray and who console and who give holy advice and kindness to others. I guess that is why I felt like posting this here, to get it off my chest because it is really bothering me. God bless everyone!*

I believe the same sort of thing happens when someone gets behind the wheel of a car. They become Godzilla because of the anonymity. Thus road rage. I believe they forget they are Christian, and also forget the other person’s dignity that God gave them.

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.

I’m so sorry you had to experience such hostility.
It might help to pray for the person. Perhaps there are all sorts of traumas in her life (deaths in the family, financial pressures, relationship issues, problems with the kids, who knows? )
Of course none of these justify harming others.
But we know we are all fallen creatures and that we are susceptible to doing wrong, even as we try to do good. And that, there are circumstances in which we might be more likely to get off track.
I think of Saint Paul being upset because he knows what he wants to do and yet he keeps on doing thinks that he does not want to do.
Perhaps through prayer, for this person, you might be able to assist her and find peace in your own heart.
May God bless you and her also.
Amen.

Some people have a tendency to say something very nasty online that they otherwise wouldn’t in person. Hidden behind the guise of a computer screen, it makes it a lot easier to say something that is thought to be “harsh, but fair”.

The thing is, I can understand when someone slips up and says something mean, but in an argument, if one person humbles himself/herself and seeks to make peace, almost always the other person will follow through and apologize too. Even those who are far from God will do this, because people tend to value peace and kindness. However when the other person doesn’t, that is what I don’t understand. I also don’t understand why there are Catholics who think that every virtue matters except for charity, despite everything that Jesus and Paul wrote in the new Testament about it.

[Edited]

I will pray for her.

Greetings,
When I was in the military many years ago there was a saying/belief. There is always that 10%. No matter whether it is in the military, a religion (pick any) etc. there will always be the 10% to misrepresent, be mean, lazy, argumentative, etc.
In any given exchange between adults there needs to be an adult-too often both of us are being childish and egotists. In your exchange(s) with this woman you were clearly the adult-kudos to you. If all Christians acted as charitable as you the world would be a better place and there probably wouldn’t be any atheists. Think of the atheists this woman comes into contact with. Probably thinking “yeah I want some of what she has. yeah right.” and having a much better view of Christianity or religion in general after meeting you.
Blessings to you and yours-Be well and stay safe.

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