Tag Archives: forgiveness

Nonviolence

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Le fils de la vigne
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Negativity. Pessimism. Put-downs. Sarcasm. Hostility. These are forms of violence that tackle me daily in the news, on the Internet, at the workplace, and sometimes from my own attitudes and behaviors.

My defense against the darkness of violence is to put my thoughts on God’s boundless love and wisdom, and to practice bringing the light of gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, and compassion to every circumstance in which I find myself.

Thank you, Lord, for being with me right now, in this moment. Help me to walk in the light of your love. Show me how to be a nonviolent presence in our troubled world.

Finally, sisters and brothers,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things. Phillipians 4:8

Never too late to change

My first response is not always generosity to the poor. It is not always welcome to  someone I don’t know. Or forgiveness to someone who has hurt me. Or respect to someone who treats me with disdain.

But I always have the option to change my attitude and behavior. I can choose the way of love and kindness instead of the way of self-centeredness and resentment.

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ He said in reply, ‘I will not, ‘ but afterwards changed his mind and went. Matthew 21:28-29

Great is your faith

Unknown maker, Rembrandt Pupil, active 1650s
Christ and the Canaanite Woman, 1650
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, corrected with white gouache
J. Paul Getty Museum

Every day I have choices to make. I look to the Scriptures to decide what is right and just:
Love my neighbors, love my enemies.
Pray for those who persecute me.
Forgive those who hurt me.
Welcome strangers.
Feed the hungry.
Give shelter to the homeless.

Thus says the LORD: Observe what is right, do what is just. Isaiah 56:1a

 

Come out

Today I ask the Lord to open the tomb of my heart and help me untie and let go of all that keeps me dead to my sisters and brothers in our human family: self-centeredness, resentment, blame, negative judgment, prejudice, indifference, scorn, comparisons, greed, fear.

I ask the Lord to grace me with a new life based in the freedom of love, peace, compassion, generosity, and forgiveness.

So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” John 11:44b

At once

 St. Peter's Church, Kilmore Quay, County Wexford, Ireland photograph by Andreas F. Borchert

St. Peter’s Church, Kilmore Quay,
County Wexford, Ireland
photograph by Andreas F. Borchert

Every day the Lord says to me, “This is my way: Love your neighbor. Forgive your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Give to the one who asks of you. Feed the hungry. Take care of the poor, homeless, imprisoned, and vulnerable. Let your light shine for all to see. Come after me.”

How quick am I to leave my old habits and attitudes and behaviors to follow him?

[Jesus] said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:19-20

Shaping a prophet

3_candlesAs my paycheck seems to leave less and less for extras, my belongings are becoming more and more shabby. I fantasize about the shame of having my baggy, well-worn wool sweater chosen as the ugliest in a competition.

Jesus reminds me that fine clothing doesn’t make a prophet. Nor do power, riches, and fame. A prophet is shaped by hearing the Word of God and practicing the Way of love, peace, nonviolence, forgiveness, compassion, acceptance, and respect. A prophet stands firmly grounded in the truth of God’s love for all of humankind.

Today I will look for opportunities to love my neighbor. I will do my best to be a prophet by  sharing God’s gifts of joy and kindness.

Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.”
Matthew 11:7-9

A spirit of knowledge

2_candlesImagine the knowledge of God’s love, compassion, and forgiveness filling and covering the whole earth. How reverently we would step. How respectfully we would treat each other. How quickly we would help anyone in need. How peaceful our homes, communities, and countries would be.

Am I willing to participate in the kingdom of God—here and now?

There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea. Isaiah 11:9