Thursday, March 13, 2014

Critical Compassion

The past couple days, my thoughts have been scattered. I've been agitated, ruminating on some situations occurring in the lives of people I know. I want to criticize their choices, judge their excuses & even put distance between us because we just can't see eye to eye. To them, the sin I see isn't sin at all. But to me, it couldn't be more black & white. Frustrated, I prayed for God to help me out & today I ran across the following passage from Chapter 43 of The Spiritual Combat:

"When... we are inclined to judge others for some fault,
let us inwardly be indignant with ourselves as guilty of the same...
and thus the weapons which, when aimed at others,
would have wounded you yourself,
being used against yourself,
bring healing to your wounds."

Ouch. How is that possible? How does the bitter gall I mean for another in fact heal my own wounds when I apply it secretly to myself? Well, for one, it brings a sense of compassion & humility to the situation. Re-focusing criticism & judgement on myself causes me to change, even if others never do. When I'm more inclined to acknowledge my own need for forgiveness & mercy from God, then, and only then, I can extend that compassion to others.

Why should I stoop to accuse myself of like sin or have compassion on one who condones sin? Because I am a sinner & God continues to be compassionate with me... how can I dare do any less for another?

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