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2013-09-15 message

posted Sep 17, 2013, 12:34 PM by St. John's Webmaster   [ updated Sep 17, 2013, 12:34 PM ]

Love thinks no evil. Let’s begin with a quick quiz. We’re driving in traffic and a driver changes lanes right in front of us without signaling. Our first thought is:

  1. How dare he?

  2. Where’s the horn?

  3. I wonder if he has an emergency.

  4. Lord, have mercy on this other driver

We’re talking to a usually attentive friend who does not seem to be paying attention this time. Our thoughts are:

  1. Pay attention to ME!

  2. What an insensitive person I have for a ‘friend.’

  3. Is everything alright with her?

  4. Lord, have mercy on her

It is a common temptation to try and assign motive to others’ actions (he’s a jerk, she doesn’t care). This is often a dangerous thing, since we tend to interpret things from our experience which is often very different from that of the person whose actions we interpret. It becomes even more dangerous when we allow ourselves to assign these motives without love.

In the first two possible answers to each question above, the focus is on the self. Usually, the assumptions made out of self-focus are going to be that the other has negative intentions for his actions. The emotions that are generated as a result of these thoughts are likely to be annoyance, anger, and other relatives of theirs.

The latter two options are driven by a different relationship to the other person, whether known (as with a friend) or unknown (as in the case of another driver). There, the other is as important as I am and because I care, I do not assume that the actions are done out of malice and I make space for God to come into the relationship.

Thankfully, even if we are not always able to choose the latter options, we can always turn back to the right path: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner

With love in Christ,

+Fr. Peter