1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 11
23rd Week in Ordinary Time
Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:42)
People love to judge other people and give advice, even when they don’t have much to offer. It can be kind of cute to see children spouting off about topics they know nothing about, but it gets a little scarier when they grow up. Depending on how serious the topic is, it can become downright dangerous, as “the blind leading the blind.”
As Jesus points out in today’s Gospel reading, we can be particularly prone to offering unnecessary, as well as ill-conceived, advice in the spiritual or moral realm. It can seem so clear to us what needs to happen in other people’s lives that it’s hard to hold back. But then, when it comes to our own lives, we are more cautious because we see the big picture, and we know there is no quick and easy fix.
Only God sees the true “big picture,” and it’s because he sees our hearts so completely that he treats us with such patience, grace, and mercy. What a comforting truth! You can rest peacefully, secure in the faith that your heavenly Father has you in the palm of his hand. And here exactly is where the challenge lies: God sees everyone’s “big picture,” and he has each person in the palm of his hand. So that means we can leave everyone else to his care as well. If God is just as patient and merciful with everyone as he is with us, we don’t need to worry about changing them!
Of course, we should love the people around us and be involved in their lives. But perhaps we should try to do this by imitating our Father and treating them with the same merciful, loving approach that God has—an approach that seeks to understand and empathize, not condemn and overadvise.
Think of one person whom you are most tempted to judge or give advice to. Now try to isolate one conversation you have had in the last day or two when you gave in to the temptation to try to fix him or her. How could you have offered grace and love instead? Finally, watch for the next conversation, and lead with love rather than correction.
“Lord, help me to reflect your grace and love to the people around me.”~WAU