Posted in Daily Bible Readings

How Our Enemies Can Make Us Holy — If We Let Them

Sunday readings for February 24, 2019

It’s easy to notice when people mistreat me. In this week’s reading, Jesus instructs the disciples how to react when we are mistreated. I thought about times I’ve felt mistreated and came up with these instances.

– The person in the parking lot who rushes past me as I’m trying to back out

– The person who steps out in front of me in the mall and then walks slowly and I can’t pass

– The person that knocks into my chair at a restaurant

– The person at work who gives me a hard time

– The person who interrupts me when I’m talking at a meeting

When mistreated, my reaction might be to get annoyed, desire to seek revenge, or withdraw. But Jesus instructs us on how to deal with these situations.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say,
love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.”

(From Luke 6)

Another way to look at Jesus’ teaching is to reflect on my own behavior Do I get in anyone’s way? Do I bother others in a way that wouldn’t even register on my radar?

I can have instants of being hateful when I feel like someone is not respecting my time or distracting me from something I’m trying to focus on. I don’t mean to be this way, but I don’t recognize it in the moment.

Jesus boiled down the Ten Commandments to two commandments.

Love the Lord with all your heart and soul.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Loving the Lord means following the commandments which are there to protect and enrich our lives — not limit us. How we love our neighbor is laid out in Jesus’ words. Often when someone is hurting, they hurt others. If we react with hatred the negativity will snowball. That is the difference to live as Jesus teaches us versus how we might want to react.

Jesus instructs us on exactly what to do, how to treat our enemies: Bless them, pray for them, give them what they are seeking, offer ourselves, and give what we have. I believe this translates into connecting with them instead of withdrawing — which is our human nature to do, or at least it’s my nature to want to avoid troublesome people.

What Jesus is telling us to do allows us to connect with others and reveal the kingdom of God to them, which was what he came to do when he took human form. It’s not easy though. As I sit here reflecting on what I wrote, I am struggling to imagine following my own words, struggling to even want to react differently than I do when someone hurts me or takes something for me. Hopefully there is someone out there praying for me when I hurt them, helping me to be better.

Posted in Daily Bible Readings, Musings

When We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

I’ve noticed something occur multiple times in the past few weeks where something was communicated, and there it was laid out straightforward and the information didn’t just quite click.

There were a few occasions where I had written instructions to people at work thinking I was making it easier for them by having the information in writing for them to refer back to. But they didn’t follow the instructions.

In another situation, I was given instructions about particular policy on pricing. I even read the email multiple times for doing what I had to do. But it wasn’t until someone said it to me that I was able to understand. I felt kind of dumb because I was really trying to follow the directions and just didn’t understand. It did, however, make me more understanding of those who didn’t absorb the information in my emails.

There was a third situation where my boss asked me to look over a PowerPoint presentation someone had prepared. She did a lovely job including screenshots in the slides and was well versed in the subject to be able to explain it. As I read the slides, I felt they needed some explanation of the topics she only listed.

I mentioned to her that it’s helpful for people learning information for the first time to hear and see it, but she was adamant that the the presentation was perfect the way it was and the procedures could be provided in a document later on.

Fortunately, I mustered up enough self control to be tactful and not angrily point out that our boss had asked for my feedback for a reason. I just stated my points and offered my help if she wanted it. Her supervisor was copied in my email reply so I left it at that. He gently suggested we meet and I scheduled it for the next day to give myself time to cool down.

When we for together she still felt the slides didn’t need to be changed. Finally, I couldn’t keep quiet anymore and I said it. Our boss, “asked for my opinion and this is it”. I wished I didn’t say it like that but I couldn’t help it anymore. My opinion was sought for a reason. I did try to be softer with her as I gathered the info to add to the slides, after all, I didn’t know anything about the subject, she was the expert. I hope she was pleased with the outcome and would see that it would help people understand the information she would be presenting.

All of these situations remind me of Easter. People had been waiting for the Messiah for hundreds, maybe a few thousand years even, and still didn’t understand. Even those who had the privilege of being a part of his ministry didn’t understand what he was really saying about being the Savior. Like at the Last Supper when Jesus was talking about having to die Matthew 16:21, or when the apostles told Thomas they had seen Jesus after the resurrection John 20:24-29, or when the people at the temple didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about when he said he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days John 2:19. It wasn’t until after the resurrection that the started to understand what he had been saying John 20:9.

I’m not really sure what the solution is, other than being open to revising our opinion as our understanding increases and being patient with those who don’t quite get it yet.

Posted in Daily Bible Readings, Musings

Starting Early or Starting Late

Is it better to start something and not continue or start late?

There are a lot of things I’ve started and dropped. In hobbies alone I have amassed quite a list: piano, tennis, golf, volleyball, and jewelry making are the ones that came to mind easily. Perhaps we regret having credit cards or school loans and getting into debt. This doesn’t mean we can’t start acquiring better habits toward spending money and saving money at this point in time.

Maybe at some point in our lives we were closer to God-went to church more, read the bible, read inspirational websites and we wished we still had that.  We can consider changing how we did it before, maybe there was something in the environment that didn’t work with our personality and a change- small or large- might help. The change could take many forms like trying to find a new place, getting ideas from friends, or perhaps after some time has passed we are just better able to continue where we left off and don’t even have to change anything.

I have been pondering this idea of starting late for the past few days and have found it liberating. I don’t have to regret what I didn’t do well, I just have to decide what I want to do and figure out how to incorporate it in my life.

October 1st Mass readings

Posted in Daily Bible Readings, Musings

Why Has This Happened?

hope.PNGHave you ever wondered why something has happened or why something doesn’t stop happening? If so, the conversation Gideon is having with God included below will resonate.
In the passage, Gideon reminds me of conversations I have when things around me aren’t going the way I think they should go. It’s like the conversations we have with God wondering why he hasn’t answered prayers we have been making for what seems like forever.
It also can apply to current events, when we wonder how anything can improve in the world with all of the violence we see or hear about daily.
We can be reminded of what God tells Gideon…”I shall be with you.” God doesn’t really ramble on and on like Gideon. There’s just a firm, I will be with you.
With Gideon we also see that it’s ok to express our doubts to God, maybe that’s the first time we become conscious of our doubts ourselves. It’s possible that makes us better able to recognize the answer when the answer reaches us. God answers us, but often not as blatantly as Gideon. Wouldn’t that be nice?
The answer may come from a family member or a friend. It may come in a snippet of a conversation we hear when changing channels, or it may just be a feeling of peace like we have arrived at a destination– where once we felt uncertainty and chaos, we now feel the calmness of a resolution. If we haven’t arrived there yet we can take comfort knowing “The Lord is with you, O champion!”
“The LORD is with you, O champion!”
Gideon said to him, “My Lord, if the LORD is with us,
why has all this happened to us?
Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers
told us when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’
For now the LORD has abandoned us
and has delivered us into the power of Midian.”
The LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have
and save Israel from the power of Midian.
It is I who send you.”
But Gideon answered him, “Please, my lord, how can I save Israel?
My family is the lowliest in Manasseh,
and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.”
“I shall be with you,” the LORD said to him,
“and you will cut down Midian to the last man.”
an excerpt from Judges 6