Journey into Freedom Day 16

Image of protest at Westboro Baptist Church

Preparation: Begin by stilling; then dedicating the time of prayer to God and asking God that all you think, feel and imagine are for the glory of God.

Gift: Ask for a deep understanding of how easy it is to see the sins of others and not notice my own sins. I ask for shame and sorrow for my sin.

Setting: Read the Bible passage below, where Jesus is talking to a large group of people, and see what stands out for you.

Matthew 7:1-5 NRSVA

‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye.

Image of protest at Westboro Baptist Church

Conversation: Imagine you are talking to Jesus, what do you want to say? How might Jesus respond?

Final prayer: Finish with a formal prayer such as the Lord’s Prayer/Our Father.

A Thought for Today: Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating.

By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Putting a good construction on what others say

Saint Ignatius in a preliminary note to the Spiritual Exercises encourages us to give other people the benefit of the doubt:

“Both the one who gives the Spiritual Exercises and the one who receives them will receive more help and benefit if they put a good construction on what others say rather than condemn them out of hand.

If it seems that another person is wrong in what they say, then ask them what exactly they mean. If they are in error, then they should be corrected with all kindness.” Spiritual Exercises 22

There is a danger we listen to certain people predisposed to find fault.

We should rather listen to others predisposed to put a good construction on what they say.

Another danger is that we imagine people are saying or doing things just to annoy us or put us down. We assume bad motives in the words of actions of others.

Ignatius encourages us always to assume the best. This way we avoid creating bad feeling where none was intended. Or even if bad feeling was at the root of what was said, we don’t escalate the problem, but leave room for reconciliation.