‘She just won’t tell me the real reason!’ a friend exclaimed when I told her to ask her classmate on what’s wrong with them. Her classmate stopped talking to her and became somewhat cold for no apparent reason at all. And my friend was like, ‘did I do or say something offensive and degrading?’ or ‘Is it because I don’t send SMS with smiley?’ or ‘Was it because I was tired and forgot to bid her good night?’ My friend was clueless. Poor friend, I bet she’s never going to know.
My friend’s friend? We know her right? It might have been you and me in the past or someone we know. The friend whom you have offended once and made your one mistake let him/her forget everything you did for the friendship. Much worse is that when the friend doesn’t have the grown-up courage to tell you why.
This reminds me of a reflection of a friend priest when I was in high school. “When people are asked to describe a doughnut,” he said, “most will say that it’s rounded bread with a hole in it.” See. People always notice what’s missing and what’s wrong. Present them with a white dress and for sure, people will see the speck of stain it has.
Sad to say but it is true. We can be so critical on others but favorable on ourselves. We can see the single mistake our friends did and go blind to the many small things they did for us with love. We judge others through their actions and judge ourselves through our intentions. It’s just unfair.
Sometimes, I even notice that those who are so critical of others are those who hear the mass often. Yes, ask a church goer on what you have done wrong and s/he can give you an entire homily’s worth of a list. You shouldn’t have done this, you should say this, you should ask me and so on.
There are also self-righteous people who fight for a cause on Facebook but fail to extend a helping hand in real life. They share photos of the Syrian refugees and solicit prayer for them but don’t care if their seatmate on a public vehicle doesn’t get the fair share of the seat.
And then there’s you who’s reading this and who’s probably asking, ‘Are you my elementary tutor Mrs. Perfecta, because you sound so perfect to have noticed everything?’
I am not perfect too, never have been and never will be. I made a share of my mistakes – judging people in my mind, or cursing them at times; ignoring those who need help because I’m running late; avoiding that extra mile of care to a stranger; being too much nosy or critical too and many more.
Just today I was not careful enough to handle a conversation when it went out of hand and the bad qualities of a person came up. After the conversation, I had to ask myself, Why did you bring that up? To discredit the person or to air your true sentiments? I have to be honest to myself. My answer can be summed up to the prayer I said on my way home. The jeepney I was riding was ridiculously fast and it was raining hard, the streets are not just wet but it’s flooding.
“Lord,” I began “please let me be safe tonight. Don’t let me die because I don’t know if I’ll end up in heaven if I die today.” I was ashamed. It was disgusting.
Thank God I arrived home safe. Then it dawned on me, no matter how I fall short of my efforts to love God and be His instrument of love and mercy, He will still love me and cover me with His arms.
And I bet He has the same love for everyone – saints and sinners alike. He endured the scourges while chained in a pillar for the critical persons, He carried the cross for those who won’t care at times, He died on the cross for you and me.
Why, you might ask. It’s because of this – we are loved, we are forgiven, we are saved.
He doesn’t ask for payment for His sufferings, He doesn’t use the past as leverage so we will do what He wanted us to do. He only ask us too extend the same love and mercy to others- to the person beside you, to the person you meet. 🙂
See the blessing and be a blessing today!