Posted: 21 May 2009 09:00 PM PDT
Acts 18:9-18 / Jn 16:20-23
Government statistics tell us that the majority of violent crimes, including murder, are committed by friends or family members of the victims. Sometimes, of course, the crime is for gain: I want what you’ve got, so I take it by force. But more often, there is no such gain in sight, just anger, a desire for revenge, or some desperate form of escape.
In most families and church communities disputes don’t ordinarily reach the level of physical violence, but they do quite often reach a level where real violence is done to people’s spirits. It seems that we are far too willing to cross the threshold of spiritual violence, even when the matters in question are trivial. If you doubt it, look at the hatefulness that is sometimes so visible within church communities about matters of taste or preference which ultimately have nothing to do with morality or the real core of life.
Our vocation as Christians is to help one another thrive, each in our own way. There’s a simple habit that can help you do that more consistently and effectively. Before you act or speak, ask the simple question: Will this help my neighbor to thrive or not? The answer is almost always obvious, and the very habit of asking the question with a sincere heart will lay you open to receive the grace to speak or remain silent, to act or be still. And your heart will be glad!