Poisonous Words

I wrote a short piece entitled “Justice Is Love in Action.” Someone wrote a comment in response, and I wrote the reply which follows:

There are poisonous words everywhere, including the Capitol, but not only there. It is too easy frankly to presume that evil is somewhere far from us, like a boogeyman who lashes out at us from the shadows and has his home elsewhere. Evil can be spoken and heard as much among the righteous as the obvious wrongdoers. No one is exempt from its dubious temptations.

Because of the prevalence of evil people need to learn discernment. Specifically, they need to learn how to discern “the inner voice of truth,” as you very well described it, from the lies or the conceits they may also harbor in their minds and in their hearts.

The first step in discernment is in recognizing that, indeed, we ourselves are often the vessels of historical and systemic wrongs. We carry them around in our actions and in our words usually without even being aware. The vessel pushes in our shoulders and arches our backs. It burdens our hearts and perverts our minds. Rather than pointing always at the boogeyman far from us, we need to think about our own culpability with ignorance, deceit, and hatred.

In my mind, greater discernment comes with wisdom and grace. We learn wisdom in time and through experience. The gift of grace opens our hearts to wisdom, so that the experiences we have actually can shape us. Otherwise, without grace, we are like thick slabs of granite untouched by the experiences around us.

Assuming we develop greater discernment, and can separate out the words of “hate, deceit, rhetoric, and ignorance,” then the good words that remain are like little bits of gold in the sand. They are the most valuable and worthy of our attention and use. They can help to bring us back to the right path, if we have strayed, and to convince others to walk toward the lights of truth and justice. Words are the instruments of justice, just as love is the end of justice.

Published by Michael Sean Erickson

I write, act, and produce films in Los Angeles. Everything else is conjecture.

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