EACH MONTH IN THE 12 STEPS OF HUMILITY WE ARE CLIMBING SAINT BENEDICT’S LADDER OF HUMILITY. WITH EACH RUNG WE COME CLOSER TO THE PERFECT LOVE OF GOD.
The ladder is our life on earth, if we humble our heart God will raise it to heaven. ~ St. Benedict
THE ELEVENTH STEP OF HUMILITY:
A monk speaks gently, without laughter, with modesty, briefly and reasonably without raising [her] voice. ~The Rule of Saint Benedict
Speak concisely, say much in few words; be as one who knows and yet holds [her] tongue.~Sirach 32:8
This is the third step where Benedict addresses communication. Step Nine calls us to listen more than we speak, followed by Step Ten which asks us not to be excessive in our laughter. Today we are encouraged to be brief and gentle when we speak.
When I grew up we were taught “If you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all.” This might be considered a modern version of St. Benedict’s 11th Step of Humility.
By restraining our speech we are putting others before ourselves, allowing them to share something of themselves, honoring them with our attentiveness.
Much of the time when someone is talking to us we are too busy in our mind crafting our fabulous response. St. Benedict asks us to restrain our speech with a humble, honoring attitude toward others.
Having listened attentively to the other we can now have our say. We aren’t to be boisterous, bragging or loud. The best rule of thumb might be to remember to respond vs. react.
When we are reactive we are being led by our emotions. But by responding we have given more thought to the words we will say.
This is often difficult and must be practiced consistently for it to become a natural habit, especially with those we are closest to.
Again Saint Benedict comes to us with words of wisdom from an ancient time that are vital to our lives today!
The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century by Joan Chittister
Twelve Steps to Inner Freedom: Humility Revisited by Joan Chitister
The Twelve Steps of Humility and Pride by Bernard of Clairvaux
St. Benedicts’s Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living by Jane Tomaine
The Rule of Saint Benedict Edited by Timothy Fry
Image credit: dervish37 / 123RF Stock Photo
IN THE LIVING LIFE LESSONS COLUMN EACH MONTH I AM SHARING VARIOUS LESSONS GOD HAS TAUGHT ME. TODAY WE LEARN HOW TO TALK TO OURSELVES AND TO OUR CIRCUMSTANCES.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. ~ Psalm 19:14 (NLT)
Year by year God continues to teach me about my words. It isn’t enough to stop saying the wrongs words, I must begin to speak out health and healing. I know from personal experience that by confessing the negative things I see each day, by rehearsing them over and over verbally, I am giving them power in my life. If I want to see something different I must be committed to speak what I want to see.
It’s important that we guard our tongue. Whatever we speak we give power over our life. If we constantly talk about our problems we will continue to see them. If our body is in pain and we talk about the pain symptoms to our friends, we will continue to have the pain. On the contrary, if while in pain, we choose to speak health and healing over our body, in spite of what we actually see or feel, we will begin to walk in health and healing.
Genesis tells us that God created the earth and all that is in it with His Words, and that God gave man authority over all the earth. Scripture also tells us the power of life and death are in our tongue.
This is difficult concept for many to grasp. Some Christians are uncomfortable with it and see it as New Age mysticism or positive mental attitude stuff. It’s true you can find this concept in some New Age teachings, but it is totally Biblical.
At 100 years old God told Abraham that he would be the father of a nation, that his children would number as great as the stars. Abraham believed and God counted him as righteous because of his faith!
Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. ~ Romans 4:17
I first learned this principle listening and watching Joyce Meyer in 2005. I was inspired by her teaching and books and wanted to have what she had. So I began following her example by rewriting various Scripture verses in first person and speaking them out loud over my life.
I am a new creature in Christ: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Then I began to recognize negative things happening in my family, situations that I knew God wanted to be different. Based on what the Bible tells us God wants for our lives, I began calling those things that were not as though there were. When I began making these affirmations over my family and marriage they were not true. Today they are!
For my family: My family is fully restored and my children have forgiven me.
For my marriage: My marriage is completely restored. My husband and I have a healthy relationship that glorifies God.
Take this lesson to heart for yourself and your family. God has given us the ability to create goodness in our own lives by the power of our words. If it can happen for me it can happen for you!
If you can’t see the video screen below CLICK HERE for a song to help us dedicate our words to God.
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