In our world today, we are constantly berated. We are told we don’t fit into the societal norm. Our hair, clothes, attitudes, beliefs, opinions are all criticized.
And we are left feeling like we will never “fit in”.
As a human being, we are social creatures. By nature, we want to belong. To connect with other human beings.
But when we are told that we each have fatal flaws that don’t meet the current standards, we are demoralized and cast aside.
Who defines these standards? And why do we go along with things that are so obviously poisonous to our relationships? Does it really benefit any one of us?
Moreover, does it ever help us to see any good in ourselves?
When we are isolated by others, be it at a work place, school, or any other communal setting, we begin to turn inward. What inside of us is any good? IS there any good within ourselves?
Our former friends and coworkers tell us that we don’t have anything worthwhile. And we begin to think that we have nothing to contribute to the welfare of society as a whole.
After all, there isn’t anything good in us.
At least, that is what we have been told. Repeatedly. And parroted by the rest of those group-think people.
We begin to beat ourselves us and join in the belittling of any of our efforts to belong. After all, we’ve been told we are basically worthless.
Especially when our beliefs point out the irrationality of other’s opinions. After all, they’ve found themselves already joined up with those who have strong opinions, rational or not. They will not change course and risking losing their own special circle of relationships.
Those who are cast out are considered less than human. Just like the Jews in Nazi Germany, or the Christians in anti-Christian societies.
So we begin to believe that we will never be able to improve ourselves on our own. We’ve tried, and still don’t fit in.
And maybe it’s for our own good. If we did, we would take full credit for becoming good, in society’s viewpoint, on our own.
Until society changes the goal posts on what is acceptable.
From a Christian standpoint, everyone is made in the image and likeness of God. They are not gods, nor are they perfect. But their ability to reason and their skill to create is a reflection of who God is.
But we also have something else that God has.
We have the capacity to love.
Not in a a touchy-feely way. But true, honest, accepting Charity. The kind that embraces even one’s enemies for the sake of Him in Whose Image and Likeness they are created.
That is something the world can never do. Nor any person on their own. No matter how hard they try, unless it is for God’s sake, it is a selfish act and holds no charitableness within it.
Saint Thomas Aquinas said that Charity is willing the good for another. When you do, you will yourself good as well.
It is a call to stop bullying yourself. You are not the culprit.
If your values are solid, and they are built on the foundation of Christian Charity, then they are not selfish. And if others reject your attempts of charity (which also include reprimanding other believers when they have steered off course), leave it to God to work through you for their sake.
Become a willing vessel He can work through. Back off and let Him work through you.
Don’t stand in God’s way and selfishly think you can power your way into someone else’s life and change them. God can handle that. That’s not your place.
Then allow whatever the consequences be what they may be. You cooperate with God’s inspiration, and He can use your voice to reflect His Love and care of each of your brothers and sisters in Christ.
What is the result of being God’s willing servant? For loving someone for God’s sake?
It isn’t an emotional feeling. Sometimes it actually can be very sad.
But if you have done God’s Will, it will bring peace to your soul. A peace that passes all understanding.
That is something the world doesn’t understand.
No amount of rejection, mocking, derision, cancelling will change that. You have done your part. You have become God’s voice to bring His Love into their lives.
It is what Saint Paul spoke about when he was being persecuted when bringing the Gospel to the world. He willingly suffered for the sake of the Body of Christ so that others would come to know God’s Love.
When we begin to know Who God Is, reading the whole Bible and connecting the dots from the Old testament through to the New Testament. We will see just how much love God gave to the world.
He set out a plan through the one group of people who chose to follow Him. And in setting it in motion, completed His promise through Christ, His Son.
It’s something we miss as westernized Christians. We forgot the entire plan, and how it was revealed to the Jewish people.
The Bible is a Jewish book. Seeing it through the Rabbinical eyes helps us understand the meaning of everything contained within the entire book.
When we see it through their lenses, we can see the Love God has for each one of us. How He expanded His message to include all those who rejected His message through the Israelites, and reached beyond their influence to encompass the entire world.
So when we get to truly know Him, we will begin to really fall in Love with our Creator and Benefactor.
Regularly prayer, regularly reading and delving into the Bible (which, actually were originally the first five books of the Torah), we will get to know Him. It brings a certain joy that will overtake us as a result.
When our will is focused on God, it will grow to be perfectly focused on Him and His Will for us.
We will gain that joy – that peace that passes all understanding – that cannot be disturbed. It is a tranquility of order in which the state of our will becomes in alignment with that of God’s.
If there is very little peace, then there can be very little charity to give. For charity presupposes a sense of tranquility in the soul before we can distribute that which is flowing through us. We block it by our pride or egotism. It gets lost when we try to do something to help someone else. And God cannot work through us.
The very act becomes corrupted.
Looking at the world through the eyes of negativity creates unrest within our souls.
How many times have you picked up the newspaper, read any articles or posts online, or watched the newsfeeds only to find yourself angry at what you see? It doesn’t matter your political stance. That isn’t important. It is the injustice that you perceive that creates that agitation in your soul.
As humans, we instinctively understand that there is a right and a wrong.
But we often allow our reason to become corrupted be embracing things we know are not ordered or correct. We will overlook a small flaw here and there to embrace what we think is good, or for the good.
Yet when we do this, we create a dichotomy within ourselves. We cannot hold fast that which is wrong and mix it with something we perceive as right. It is either entirely right, or entirely wrong.
The enemy will mix in a little Truth – just enough – to make the bitter pill of lies tolerable to the masses. The ante is increased to begin to embrace bigger and more insidious lies.
Then he uses that same tactic to turn on those who never fell for the prevarcation. He causes the rift in relationships, telling those who are now his steadfast followers that the ones pointing out the falsehood are the ones causing the unrest. They need to be eliminated from society to preserve the peace.
Which they willing obey and do.
Until the next goalpost is set and they become the ones the same crosshairs as those who went before them.
We should focus on each other’s virtues, not their vices. If we see their vices, then we need to talk to God about those things, not each other. If God wills for us to approach them, then we must be willing to let Him speak through us. Not take the reigns and do it because we see the wrongs that must be righted. He know them far better than we do. He created them, and He alone sees their inner struggles, their past, and their heart.
And if He tells us nothing, then don’t take it upon ourselves to try to fix them.
Even those seemingly irritating people with glaring defects (to us) are there to purify us. They are our sand to polish us, removing the remaining grains of pride that reside within us.
Instead, focus on the gifts and beauty that they have. Everyone has something beautiful about them. Sometimes it’s extremely hard to see. But rest assure, God will not give us people in our path whom He will not give the ability to at very least pray for them.
Even rape victims have come to be at peace with their assaulters through prayer for their conversion. And asking God to give them the Grace to forgive them.
It may take years, even decades, but God never leaves prayers unanswered.
Even if the answer isn’t the way we expected it to be.
Remember that the more you try to control the external, the more you will realize that it is outside your control. And the more you will hate that which you try to control.
Take the political field of today. All nations around the world are being torn asunder. Their views are tossed around like so many ships on a stormy sea.
The opinions of the populace are being played like strings on a fiddle – manipulated to follow one view or another, one person or another.
And the end result is that they begin to hate each other, hate other nations, hate being controlled.
Yet they continue to fall into the same trap.
But if they were to ignore the politics and seek what is right in God’s sight, they wouldn’t fall for the manipulation. They would see right from wrong, follow those who choose right, and ignore the ignorant fallacies being promulgated by either faction.
Remember that the angels who came to meet Joshua weren’t on anyone’s side but God’s.
And charity requires us to relinquish control of what isn’t within our circle of influence.
Even then, we must be open to God using us to influence within our own circle. From there it will spread beyond our sphere.
We must have more charity toward those closest to us. Never was it more striking to me than lately. There is too much desire to fix our nation and the state of the world. The pull is strong.
But it pulls us away from the most influential part of society. And the one we can most affect. Our families. And our neighbors.
When we are more charitable to our family and neighbors, we will engage in the proper order of charitable acts.
It begins closest to home.
From there, we can influence the world.