We communicate mainly through word, and it does matter how we do it. Our word is a reflection of the Incarnate Word. The Lord said, “Let there be light.” And the invisible received its existence through word. Word is the greatest power in the world. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth” (Ps. 33:6). So also in us the hidden things manifest themselves through word, and secrets become known. Therefore we need to use words with great care. It is so important for our word to have an atmosphere of good. When communicating through word, we seek benefit for ourselves; we want to have good in us. Words originating from good make our life brighter. If good word was powerful in a conversation, then we will long have a good feeling of something valuable, godly and common to us. Words should make us closer, unite us, but not corrupt and separate us. Words that we hear have the greatest influence and an immense importance in all of our lives.
Yet we live in a state of sinfulness. Our word is weakened by our sinfulness and does not reach our lives with the fullness of its sound. Only a word separated from sin can show its true power, because then it is united with the Word that created the world. If our words are not weakened by sin when originating from the secret places of our souls, then those words have the power of potential good in us. When such words come out of us, they bring good and light, being united with the Source of Light, God the Word. The words become incarnate.
When we waste our words without paying attention, we don’t even think that these words might carry separation and corruption in family, in society and in the world around us. When we begin a conversation, we normally start by reasoning about something, and then quickly pass on to condemning someone, and we don’t consider it to be a sin. Judging others is an ulcer that corrupts our lives. It separates us from one another and leads to the corruption of the good that is in us. Words are to build up our lives, to bring good, to make us closer to one another, to unite us, not to cause separation, corruption and death. It is so important that our word, which is a reflection of the Logos on earth, should bring us light and joy of life in the midst of enmity and separation amongst which we live. In our words we often ascribe to people the qualities they do not possess, suspect them wrongfully. Such use of word causes separation amongst us. But a good word, if it is heard, causes a great change and can move mountains. We see this throughout human history.
Our verbal communication is not unimportant. Word is eternal. Our words do not disappear, but go into eternity. We ought to use words remembering, that we will be held responsible for them on the Day of Judgment, for it is said, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Mt. 12:36). We don’t want to be condemned by the word on that day. The Lord said that not He, but the word will judge us. (John 12:48). Light has come to this earth, and we don’t notice it. Goodness is diluted in us. Goodness that is not concentrated does not give us light, and we do not realize what power it possesses. In communicating with one another, we must seek what is in common, throwing away everything that separates us from one another. As far as our human sinfulness is concerned, the Lord will come to judge us and will eliminate sin and reward each according to his deeds. When we sin on this earth, we pronounce judgment upon ourselves. The Lord said, “I came not to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47). So we also should try not to judge. We ought to seek good on this earth. The Kingdom of God, the light and joy, is here near us and, indeed, in us. We just need to fight our passions, to fight the darkness, which the evil one drives into our hearts. When we fight sin, we help the Lord to establish His Kingdom in our hearts and through us on this earth.
It is hard to fight sin. Love of self, judging of others, irritability and pride—all these are spikes that hurt us as well as those around us. Removing these spikes also hurts, but we have to do it. It is our cross. Yet when we change our hearts and allow the Lord into them, then we experience joy. Then the light of God illuminates our hearts. Therefore we sing, “The Cross brings joy unto the whole world.” The cross leads to the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth and to the glory of God. When we make an effort to overcome our sinfulness, we crucify ourselves along with our passions and lusts. This is the cross of which we all are so afraid. Of course, the cross if heavy, and Christ Himself was falling under the weight of the cross, but through the cross one can also see the joy of resurrection. The idea of resurrection is the idea of the triumphant power of good. Our resurrection is effected through the overcoming of sin. “O, risen Jesus, resurrect our souls!”
When we talk, we often become judgmental, but we are afraid to speak of good. We are afraid that people will laugh at us. So what? It’s OK to suffer for Christ. Evil is afraid of good word and laughs at it. Our good words are a creative power similar to the power of the God-Word. Like the power of God, the word overcomes evil. A word can also be present in silence: it is an internal word. A word, even if not spoken, has power. Often good word puts us through mockery and opposition, but one should not be afraid. The word comes through and breaks out of the ground like a seed. A good word has a creative element: “Everything came into being by it.” Don’t be afraid to say a good word. A word that fell on a good ground may produce an abundant fruit. If the evil one has contributed to the word, it loses its power. We have deprived the word of its power, having allowed death to come into it. And instead of righteousness, the word brings us separation and death. Having not deflected the attack of the evil one, I have contributed separation with my word, and it will be judged on the Day of Judgment.
At the moment when a word is being born inside of us, we must ask God for help. When we do this, the heavenly light comes into us, and then the word that is being born brings light into the world and is creative and uniting. Darkness is afraid of light. Our will is quietly weakened by a mocking smile of those around us. We are afraid to say a good word, to raise our word, and the evil one is happy about his success and our helplessness. The fullness of the energy of good is clouded by the fear of ridicule. We must say: we reject the power of evil and believe in good.
A human being is waiting for something all the time. Now we have nothing to wait for; we must act. One should not say: I am no warrior. You are a warrior with the armor that you have. You should try to say a good, kind word. The Lord has given this mission to every person. Good is bold. A good word brings light to good souls and uncovers darkness in dark souls. Sin brings us a false life, and good brings us a real life extending into eternity. When we say a good word, we as if it were open the heavens and enter into eternity. And our good words are the building blocks of the dwelling place being prepared for us by the Lord Himself, just as the one he prepared for the repentant robber in one hour. Good words bring us happiness in this life, and will bring us bliss of seeing God in the life to come. Just like the seed in the well-known parable, so also a good word will bring forth fruit when it falls into good soil; sometimes thirty-fold, sometimes sixty-fold, and sometimes a hundred-fold.
About the Author
- His Eminence Sergius of Prague was a hierarch of the Church of Russia who served in Poland following World War I as Bishop of Belsk before becoming Bishop of Prague under the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. After World War II, Abp. Sergius returned to the Moscow Patriarchate, serving in different sees in central Europe. In 1950, he was assigned to serve as Archbishop of the Diocese of Kazan and Chistopol of the Church of Russia until his repose 1952.