People of kindness and generosity can use their knowledge to liberate others, to delight and inform them, to allow them to see new vistas and possibilities. We’ve all witnessed that in the way that a great teacher works. Think of the best teacher you ever had. Here’s someone who has used her knowledge to awaken you, to open something new, to allow you to think in a deeper way. Think of the manner in which a great spiritual teacher leads a disciple to spiritual wide-awakedness. That’s how it works at its best. Knowledge is liberating, enhancing, enlivening.
But people dominated by the ego will use their knowledge aggressively, as a kind of weapon. And again, we’ve all seen this, haven’t we? It might be at the office or it might be at a cocktail party or it might be in your own family circle: someone who is, by all accounts, very bright, very clever, but who uses his intelligence to put others down, to aggrandize himself, to win arguments, even when it’s clear that such a victory is harmful or embarrassing to somebody else. We’ve all seen it, haven’t we? It’s someone smart and they’re out-arguing another person, putting them down, trying to embarrass them. It’s a type of aggression or warfare.
from Father Robert Barron’s homily for today (Sunday, July 3 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time)