Spirituality in Action - To Bear Wrongs Patiently
by Deacon Thomas Frankenfield
Continuing our Journey
Each one of us receives numerous gifts from our loving God. Some gifts are very evident to us and are developed throughout our life’s journey like unique musical talents or academic abilities. Other gifts are often hidden inside of us and come to the forefront as others call us forth to journey with God’s community. Examples are the ability to be present to those in need and the ability to listen with one’s heart. Finally, there are those gifts that many would label as burdens that through the grace of our loving God can be transformed into powerful gifts for others. Our journey in this series deals with how those who bear pain and sufferings are able to use our gifts to further make the reign of God present in our broken world regardless of our troubles.
To Bear Wrongs Patiently
The fourth reflection on the Spiritual Works of Mercy is the call for us to bear wrongs patiently. In today’s world this is one of the great challenges to anyone in our Christian Community. We can be injured in many different ways from physical abuse to the searing pain of mental mistreatment. Each of us is challenged in many unique ways.
Unquestionably, our role model in this area is Our Lord, Jesus Christ. It was Jesus who bore Pilate’s mental and physical abuse and without saying a word of defense or without making a single gesture to stop them--even though he was accused of crimes he had not committed. In these areas and in all others we should try to model the example of Our Divine Lord, who endured wrongs by praying for those who injured Him.
In His Passion and Death, Jesus taught the lesson that more violence in not the proper response to violence. Jesus showed by example a healthier approach to bearing wrong besides “an eye for an eye.” The Good Sheppard shows His flock that being in relationship with Him means bearing wrongs with love and forgiveness. Imagine a world where war, violence and revenge were not our first reaction to hurts.
However, this model of bearing wrongs with love and forgiveness does not mean that one should invite continual abuse and mistreatment as a form of false piety--it doesn’t promote people submitting to constant danger and abuse
Becoming a Font of Grace
Quite often those who display abusive behavior are acting out in response to their own sinful ways and an expression of their inner pain. In order for us to help those in this kind of pain we should display a patient acceptance. Simple actions like saying a quiet prayer like “God, you love them with unconditional love, help me to love them in the same way.”
Becoming an example of peacemaking means acting peacefully even in life’s little things. When a customer is rude, most successful business owners do not react violently. So, when co-workers disappoint you, bear those wrongs patiently. Only God’s grace can help us to overcome our innate reactions. Only grace can turn our natural instinct to make a nasty response into a flowing font of patient love.
A Statement of Faith
In the end, we must have the strength to embrace the sufferings of lives and turn our weakness into strengths. This is a thunderous statement of faith. This is a faith in God's unconditional love that whatever humans do to us--God ultimately will reign victoriously. By bearing injustices committed against us patiently we show our faith in God's power to overcome all evil.
For Your Reflection
From a Ministry Perspective:
- Are there persons in my ministry with whom I struggle because of their tendency to perform painful actions? Can I become a font of loving grace by bearing these wrongs patiently?
- Where do I cause others stress because of my sinful actions? How can I lessen their need to bear my wrongs patiently?
From a Family Perspective:
- In my Domestic Church, as parent, sibling, widow or single, are there persons with whom I struggle because of their tendency to perform painful actions? Can I become a font of loving grace by bearing their wrongs patiently?
- In what areas in my Domestic Church do I cause others stress because of my sinful actions? How can I make my Domestic Church more Christ-like?
I would love your feedback, thoughts, stories and ideas. Please email me.
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