The first time I saw Frankie I knew she would never want to be my friend. We could not be any more different. Her home was new and big, mine small and dated. Her husband made a lot of money, mine picked up odd jobs to make ends meet. Her kids were not too many and respectably spaced, my gaggle of seven came in nine years. She was thin, pretty, and stylishly dressed, and me, well not so much.
If she chatted with me, I assumed she was pretending to make a good show. If she smiled at my family, I just knew that she was really judging us. I dreaded having to speak with her, feeling like such a loser in her presence and firm in my belief that she felt the exact same way. But I also made myself feel better by smugly believing that I was the better Christian. It’s gross and embarrassing to even admit that, but it was my one consolation in this reality I had imagined and I clung to it at the time.
And then one day she asked to collaborate with me. I was surprised but accepted, because that’s what a good Christian would do. As we worked side by side I learned about her life. She gave me a glimpse of her heart and its troubles. She told me about her family and their faith. She told me about her hours of service, loving and supporting people in need. She thanked me for helping her in the most sincere way, and I realized what a judgmental jerk I had been.
In that moment I could hear Jesus ask me, as He asked the scribes in today’s Gospel, “Why are you thinking such things in your heart?” (Mark 2:8) Just like the scribes, I thought I understood the situation, and just like the scribes, I was wrong. I allowed my assumptions and my insecurities to overshadow all the good that God was doing in Frankie’s life. I missed the blessing of her true friendship just as they missed the blessing of recognizing their forgiving God was in their midst.
But when I looked at my heart and saw my sin, I was able to see the good and glorify God.
Sisters, let’s not miss out of the blessings in our lives—of forgiveness, friendships, and more—because we have created false truths and have limited God and one another. Let’s examine our hearts and our preconceived notions, turning them over to Jesus so that He may perform miracles.
Bonnie Engstrom is a writer, baker, speaker, and homemaker. She, her husband, and six children live in central Illinois, and her son’s alleged miraculous healing through the intercession of Venerable Fulton Sheen was submitted to the Vatican for Sheen’s beatification. Bonnie pretends she has a green thumb, bakes a fantastic chocolate chip cookie, loves naps and chai tea, and blogs. You can find out more about her here.