The Simple and Truthful Language of Jesus: Aids for discerning deceptive speech

Issue 1801

18 January 2018

“When Jesus spoke, he used simple words and he also used images that were examples taken from daily life in order to be easily understood by all. This is why they listened to him willingly and appreciated his message that directly touched their heart. It was not a complicated language that was difficult to understand, like that used by the doctors of the law of that time, which was not easily understood, was very rigid and distanced people. With this language, Jesus made the mystery of the Kingdom of God understood; it was not complicated theology.”[1] In a Sunday Angelus last summer, Pope Francis began his comments on the Parable of the Sower with this reflection on the language of Jesus: a simple language that goes straight to the heart. It is the opposite, the pope says, of the complicated language of a rigid theology that distances people from the mystery of the Kingdom.

The discernment between the two languages is clear: that which directly brings me closer to the love of Jesus comes from the good spirit; and that which distances me from the love of Jesus comes from the evil spirit. Employing this perspective, what can we say about the language used by some in the media that goes straight to the heart but sows poisonous discord rather than the good seed of wheat?

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