Hey there! How are all y’all? Hope y’all are doing well. It’s been crazy here, dealing with selling a house halfway across the country, but I have truly awesome people on both ends and we’ve overcome every obstacle, I think. As the truck prepares to bring yet another load of boxes and furniture, I’ve been frantically trying to unpack everything from the last trip. I have a few pieces that are very special because they came from overseas. Every trip was different, every one life-changing. Grab a cuppa, and find a relaxing spot. I’m looking right now at a carved olive wood statue of Our Lady of Grace.
On this particular trip we traveled with a brand-new priest, an awesome tour guide, a skilled bus driver, and a very small group of folks, including two ladies who were brain injury victims from approximately 30 years back. They live fairly normal lives. I said fairly. One of them had absolutely no filter over her words. What popped into her brain immediately popped out of her mouth. I think we all know people like that who aren’t victims of brain injuries. Hopefully it’s not me!
Sometimes these comments came out as a noisy exclamation, even right in the middle of Mass at the Eucharist. The challenge for the rest of us became: if we responded, when we responded, and how we responded. Our Texas tour guide Ceci handled it all in style. We all learned so much from these two fresh, uninhibited ladies. I believe the poor Father underwent a baptism of fire, but he also handled it very well and with amazing grace.
We all have people like that around us, who make inappropriate, untrue, unwanted or unnecessary comments. How do we respond? Do we correct them in a spirit of anger and condescension? Do we attempt to control them- to ‘put them in their place’? Or do we show them the love and grace of Jesus, praying for His grace to let us love them as He does.
How do we respond to people in our lives who don’t speak the way we’d want them to – those who inadvertently hurt us with their words, or who have a different opinion on something we deem so important? Do we argue and criticize and maybe avoid those people? Or do we seek to walk in prayer, in love, in forgiveness and welcome them as a fellow human being here on planet earth? Can we adopt the attitude of Christ on the cross – “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
The American poet, Edwin Markham, has a couple of quotes I’d like to share with you.
“We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it to life.”
“He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.”
What is your reaction to these quotes? “Too hard,” ” makes me a doormat,” ” not realistic,” or just plain, “I want to be right when I’m right!”
At my deepest level, what I truly want – what I was created to be – is like Christ. How would He see these people who use words to hurt? How would He respond to them? Verbally? Body language? I wonder!
As Creator, All-knowing, Possessor of All Wisdom, He had a prerogative that I will never have. He was able to pass judgment, because He is truly all knowing – motive included. I do not posses this knowledge; therefore, I will never possess this prerogative to judge another. I simply do not have the authority, the merit, or the permission.
What I do have the authority to do, as His Ambassador, is to show as much love as possible. He gives me His love to use, in name, in supply, and in action.
So, the next time someone cuts you off in traffic, or accuses you unjustly, or espouses a lifestyle we know is sinful, what are you going to do about it? I suggest we cultivate love and prayer. In traffic, pray for them – that they will get where they need to be safely, that no one else will be injured by them, and that whatever life circumstance is driving them will be bathed in God’s love and peace. If they accuse you unjustly and the only thing really at stake is your pride, pray for them. Ask God to help you build a bridge of His love between you and them. Ask Him to show you how to be His Ambassador to them.
If you’re not sure how to do this, or need to begin a relationship with Jesus, find a pastor or priest. They can lead you to more love!