Friday, January 27, 2012

By Your Words....

About twenty-five years ago, Bonnie and I had to move to a new area for work and thus had to begin in a new church.  A particular couple in our new church community were very gracious to us and helped us settle in.   They helped us find a good neighbourhood to live in and generally made our transition much less painful than it could have been.  Although their children were a few years older than ours, our families became good friends.  
Our friends, however, had an awkward habit.  It seemed as though they could always find a double meaning in everything that was said.  Just about every sentence was accompanied by a knowing glance, a smirk, a giggle, a raised eyebrow.  And just about every double meaning had to do with sex.
At the beginning, I just laughed with them at the irony and edgy-naughtiness of the unintended (or intended) double entendres.  It was just fun, we didn't mean anything by it--at least that's what we told ourselves.
However, as I got to know this couple better, I began to see that there were some deep problems in their minds and relationship.  It was not that they had or were committing specific illicit actions.  They were very devout.  Rather, it was that their minds were tormented, tormented by what was not satisfying in their own relationship and fascinated by what they imagined might be satisfying if things were different.  In fact, it was probably this imagination of what might be, that, to a large extent, made what was so unsatisfying.
Bonnie and I were increasingly disturbed by this awkward habit of our friends.  Our time together was tearing us down, not building us up.  Eventually, we began to find excuses not to be with them.  When I was with them, I adopted an intentional ignorance: I didn't get the double entendres, and when they were explained or pointed out I just said, "Oh yea, it could mean that; but that's not what I meant."  No smirk. No giggle.
At that time, we were not Orthodox.  We did not have the spiritual teaching of the Church to help us understand that our thoughts control our lives, and that our words reveal what is in our hearts.  We didn't know that the logismoi (the words) of demons enter our mind as evil thoughts that, if we dwell on them, become our thoughts.  We didn't know that by playing with words and ideas about sinful behaviour--behaviour that we had no intention of actually doing--we were in fact revealing what we were already to some extent doing in our hearts.
Jesus said that we will be judged by every idle word.  This judgement will fully take place on the Last Day; however, the New Testament tells us that we are already in the last days.  Even now our words are judging us.  May God help me to "set a guard before my mouth, and a door of enclosure upon my lips."

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