How often do we look with disdain on the faults of others?
Does our day begin with joy in a relaxed atmosphere until someone commits an intrusion into our surroundings by some obnoxious act of unkindness? In a time of so many disquieting occurrences, when all we are looking for is peace and harmony, there can become events that make us wish we had stayed in bed. Unfortunately, most of us may encounter at least once in our lifetime a moment of what appears to be a crisis within the daily activity of moving about, surrounded by people, and there it is; disharmony, anger from others, or just ugly annoyances from some for no reason except they are living in a confused world of discontent and unhappiness.
This may be a common scenario for lots of people who just want to be left alone, without something entering their world of moving along in the daily routine of work, school, or simple adherence of freedom to go quietly on their merry way. But, that isn’t what happens in the realm of life for most persons.
Enter the existence of people with all their flaws, not intentional, of different needs, desires, momentary disruptions with spouses, children, bosses, or co-workers. Suddenly we have the elements of common ammunition that may explode at any moment if another person crosses what is thought to be a line of “do not cross. “
We are not made that way, and the flare up of tempers do not last too often, but in some cases can grow to an explosive situation. This is where our need for charity and the presence of God are needed, once the fires of anger settle. It is here that the essence of understanding the significance of forgiveness and the words of Jesus are needed in a timely fashion; “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye.” (Mt. 7:3).
Point here is when someone, for any reason, aggressively attacks us, our first inclination may be to respond negatively, in defense of ourselves, but may regret our actions later. Of course, this takes more grace than may immediately not present itself, but it is needed, now, and tempered with generosity. Not always easy, for sure, but again is necessary.
Our thoughts may be, “I did nothing to deserve this attack (verbally or physically) and why should I have to sustain this abuse?” “After all, I have been living a grace-filled life, always doing the Church’s bidding and why wouldn’t God be on my side?” Perhaps the thoughts are justified, but in a world where Jesus Christ is the center of our lives, and the ultimate actions should be thought through, there is another line to be remembered:
St. Augustine, in the Twenty-Second Sunday reading from the Liturgy of the Hours, says: “We’re saved by his grace and not by works, lest anyone may boast; for it is by his grace that we have been saved. It is not as if a good life of some sort came first, and that thereupon God showed his love and esteem for it on high saying; “Let us come to the aid of these men and assist them quickly because they are living a good life.” We were not good, but God had pity on us and sent His Son to die, not for good men but for bad ones, not for the just but for the wicked. Yes, Christ died for the ungodly.”
“Perhaps someone can be found who will dare die for a good man; but for the unjust man, for the wicked one, the sinner, who would be willing to die except Christ alone who is so just that he justifies even the unjust.”
May we all remember, the man on the Cross at Calvary was God Incarnate, sent to redeem all who sinned, and will sin for evermore, that all who believe in Him have the opportunity to be saved. All have sinned and that is who Christ rose to redeem.