by Chris Fernandez
Looking at the definition of violence in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, violence is an “intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force”, causing “injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation.” The dictionary also mentions that a violent act is “not natural.” It goes against the nature of something.
When we say that the just man is not violent with his words, that means that he recognizes the nature of who he is speaking with, and who is speaking. Speaking in a way which violates the nature of who we are speaking to, or who we are, is to commit violence.
When we are speaking with someone, we are speaking with a person, who, by their very nature, has inestimable dignity and worth – made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). A person is always to be regarded as a subject of love, and never an object of any sort of use (Karol Wojtyla, Love and Responsibility, p. 178). A “person is a good towards which the only proper and adequate attitude is love” (Love and Responsibility, p. 41). To speak to a person in any other way is to treat them contrary to their dignity, contrary to their nature, and to do violence to them. Because justice is to grant someone their due, what is owed to them, we owe it to other persons in justice to speak to them in a way recognizing their dignity and their nature. By the same truth, we must always speak in charity so as to not act in a way contrary to our nature, contrary to what we have been made for. To speak violently is to commit violence to another and to ourselves. Thus, the just man is not violent with his words.