PARADOXICAL

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 24 - Repaying evil with goodness

One of the hardest parts of gospel therapy is repaying evil with goodness. How do I fare in this area? I have so many major fails that I can learn from.

When a former superior fired me unceremoniously, via an email cc'd over the office LAN, I certainly got hurt, offended, and I stormed out of the darned place, wishing never ever to see her face again. I should've instead prayed that she'd rise  to the top, be more successful than ever, be happy in life, and that she'd learn how to terminate employees in a more respectful way.

When another former superior treated me and others badly by positioning her boyfriend and another very close male friend to the plum posts and manipulating our loyalty and sense of indebtedness to her, I gave up her friendship and, unknown to her and her allies, participated in writing a letter report about her ways to the CEO. I should have instead allowed the Lord to fight for me, and of course prayed for her and her friends' tremendous success, and not out of bitterness too, so that she would no longer have a need for manipulativeness.

When a former boss gave only half of what he promised me verbally, I felt so disappointed and smarted from the pain for years. But I should credit myself for not pressing the issue anymore after some initial attempts failed. Knowing how I had issued negative words about him in the past, I was able to let go a lot easier. I was able to forgive him in the hope that my own sins might be absolved too. What I didn't do was pray for him and his family, that they might become even richer so that they would know the emptiness of earthly riches and value their promises to other people.

When this and that petty criminal took away my wallet, cellphone, and the IDs, cards, contact numbersm and notes along with them, I was certainly aghast. The very idea! I was not some rich kid that they might pounce on; I was just another ordinary struggler, almost like them, so how could they? To be fair to myself, I also backtracked, thinking maybe he needed the money more than I did, maybe his wife or kid was in the hospital, maybe he's jobless for the longest time, maybe they were really really hungry and helpless, etc. I gave them that though they didn't deserve it. But I think I also half-wished for them to die a painful death, to be victimized by others exactly like they did to me, to be caught by authorities, to meet their 'bad karma.' I shouldn't have gone that far instead. I should have prayed for their souls and their families'. I should have thought, "May God bless you with stable jobs, and the conscience to know that what you are doing is evil."

When an assortment of people offended me during the grand prolife battle during the RH debates, my reflex reaction was to correct them and defend the faith, defend what I know and believe to be the truth, to do something. In fairness to me, I tried to see things from their perspective because that's how I trained myself to see people at the time. Looking back now, I should've prayed first what step to do next, instead of asking God whether I did right after I reacted by reflex; I should've consulted God before not after, to show my humility, as though to say that He has all the wisdom I need, while I have nothing to offer but egoistic hurt and the desire to look good and be the one who's right. I should've prayed more for the person too, being genuinely interested in his or her own salvation. I wasn't that consistent, especially with those characters I found particularly arrogant and distateful. This, despite knowing some psychology, despite having an inkling as to their deeply broken family backgrounds.

Today, I will it -- I will forgive everyone and everything without conditions. I will do what I have failed to do then.

Surprisingly, it's not impossible. It's doable. Sainthood is within reach, after all.
I just have to remember Christ's illogical/paradoxical/ironic/counterintuitive way. I'll just have to reach out to God more, particularly his revealing grace.

Comments:
wow, grabe naman 'yang mga taong 'yan. siguro kung ako rin my reaction would be exactly the same, or even worse. :D

i think naman normal pa rin to react that way. it takes great training of one's impulses and instant reactions to not even "go there" when one is angry. what's encouraging is when at least you're able to switch on that awareness na more quickly than you had before, and can then channel your thoughts towards prayer and good wishes for the person (yikes). this is a tough one. i struggle with it too. my tendency kasi is to be mataray right away. :)
 
Yikes talaga, but that's what sainthood is all about di ba. To make it easier for me, I think of god's reaction, when I sin again and again: He doesn't say yikes to me but I forgive you (again and again). :-)
 
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