The readings today feel like a divine whack with a two-by-four from the Holy Spirit. Whack! Boom! Ouch!
One of the things I have most struggled with in living the Christian life is exactly what Jesus calls out today—being judgmental. Mercy and forgiveness are not cheap in the Kingdom of God; it costs something from each of us. Jesus loves to forgive, it's one of His favorite things to do. He once told Saint Faustina that our sins are like a mere drop of water in the ocean of His mercy and love towards each of us. Our God is a God of boundless mercy and unending forgiveness, and yet we are so stingy at times in extending that to each other?
One of my favorite quotes from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta speaks similarly of this:"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." When we spend all our time on judging others, it leaves us no chance to love them as Christ does. And aren't Christians to be known for their love and not their Judgy McJudgerson attitude?
You want to be shown mercy? Show mercy in your actions. You want to be shown forgiveness? Extend forgiveness the way you want Jesus to forgive you. You want to not judge others so much? Ask for Jesus for help to love those difficult people the way He does.
Take some time today to think about and call to mind the most difficult person/s in your life. You know, the one/s who drive you crazy, frustrate you to no end, and perhaps are the people you would rather not love at all. Well, today pray for that person/s from the heart. Beg Jesus to see him or her the way He does. Ask Jesus to help you see this person with eyes of love and mercy. I have done this in my own life with several difficult people, and ladies, it really is the most amazing thing! When you begin seeing people the way Jesus does, your heart softens. Our stoney, cold hearts melt when we allow Jesus to change how we look at the difficult people in our lives.
If Jesus can look at each of us with a constant look of love and mercy, how can we refuse to do the same to the people in our lives?
Patty Hubbard is a new-ish wife finishing grad school, working in youth ministry, and learning to cook more than your average Lean Cuisine. You can find out more about her here.