- One of my tasks is to cultivate love for the people I know and meet. To borrow the Bible's imagery of thinking of our spiritual lives like seeds that grow into plants and then produce -- then Paul's instructions to get rid of all bitterness, malice, rage, envy, jealousy, factions, discord, strife, etc - is like getting rid of the pests, weeds, and even poisons that sap the strength from our growing love, or kill it outright so that it has to be planted all over again.
- Sometimes people say nasty things to me, and it sometimes happens that I don't think of the best thing to say until later, after the moment has passed. It's a common enough human experience. But if I find myself rehearsing a nasty speech in retaliation -- even if I may never say it -- then that probably falls under the warnings about not lying on our beds plotting evil at night. That kind of thing needs to be added to my mental 'anti-virus' watch.
- An even better comeback might actually help the other person. To say, "That's mean" can easily make things worse. To say, "I'm surprised that a kind-hearted person like you would say a thing like that" is worth a try, in some of the cases that come to mind right now.
- Planting a seed of love can be as simple as noticing any honest effort the other person makes. It's particularly important when that honest effort is rare or feeble -- something about not breaking a bruised reed, or not snuffing out a smoldering wick.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Lent Anti-Virus Report 2014
In a recent year, I ran something of an "anti-virus" scan on my thoughts during Lent. This year, some similar things have come to light. I mention them in case it is helpful to someone else: