"These signs will accompany those who believe . . . " (Mark 16:17).
In today's Gospel, Our Lord tells the eleven Apostles to go out and tell the whole world the Good News. He also gives them the indications that someone is a believer with a series of signs—things they'll do and be able to do.
My daughter sat kicking her legs in my direction under the dining room table. "She's never going to be my friend again," she proclaimed as only a seven year old can. Kind of a grunt, hiss, shriek. There had been a misunderstanding (the nice adult term for it) about whether or not a friend had called her artwork bad.
"I heard someone say it and it couldn't have been the boy sitting at our table. It must have been heeerrrrrrrrrr," the crying started now.
I sipped the end of my now-flat carbonated water drink and glanced into the kitchen where two kids had dumped out the legos everywhere and a third was dawdling over his homework. "Let's look at this in the totality of the circumstances. That means, let's see if she's ever done anything like this before."
We parsed through this little girl's actions. Had she ever been unkind before? Is it possible it slipped out of her mouth but she didn't mean to insult you? How can we look at this in the greater context of who she is? She cooled off, we prayed, she wrote a note to her friend, the mom reached out, everything ended up fine.
But I kept coming back to this idea of how we evaluate people's actions.
You've also probably struggled to place someone in context. Would they mean that? Are they going off the deep end? Can I follow their Instagram still? Is that book recommendation solid? I try to examine them and their sharing online and off-line in the "totality of their circumstances." So not quick to judge but careful to observe.
Let's give one another the benefit of the doubt but also be ready to gently provide sisterly feedback as needed, friends.
Lord, we humbly ask You to call all our hearts and mind closer to You. Help us evaluate our own actions and thoughts so that they can stay rooted in our Faith.
Nell O'Leary is a recovering lawyer turned blogger, speaker, and sewer of baby goods while tending to her husband and four kiddos in the great city of Saint Paul, Minnesota. She serves as Managing Editor for Blessed is She and can down a hot cocoa in no time flat. Find out more about her here. She is the editor of our Blessed Conversations Series and guide for the Gift of You course.