(I had not thought I would write again so soon but I listen to the will of Another.)
Yesterday, I did not address at all the topic of how this spiritual war is to be fought. I think I surprised myself that I wrote about it at all.
Today I was talking with someone who was struggling with resentments and, knowing this person to be faithful, I suggested praying for those whose behavior was hurtful. As I kept talking, something deeper came out and I felt deeply peaceful as I spoke.
Thankfully, in my work as a psychologist, God often seems to direct what I say and do. This was one of those times, for certainly I had not planned to say what I did. I began speaking of compassion and how important it is that we cultivate in our hearts a desire for all people to receive whatever help they need to live well.
When we see someone behaving badly, in selfishness or sin or simply in ways that annoy us, it is not our natural inclination to respond with hopes that all be well for them. And yet to love our neighbor as our selves means to do just that.
The heart of compassion is to wish for each person, no matter how hurtful, hateful or immature he or she may be, to be given whatever is needed to live in a healthier and happier manner. Isn’t that what I would secretly wish for myself in those moments when I am truly honest with myself about my own faults and failings?
When I came home this evening, I opened up the Scripture for the day (Roman Catholic calendar) and read these words:
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.” (Luke 6: 36-38)
The One who leads us in battle has given us His orders. Why am I surprised that His Spirit spoke in me these same instructions earlier today?
Compassion is only one of the weapons we are given to use in our fight against the enemy – but it is a very powerful one. How quickly and dramatically our personal lives and our world would change if we employed it regularly!
And it is for that very reason that our adversary tries to disrupt us from cultivating compassion and engaging it in our lives.
We strive to be compassionate to those who harm us and our thoughts will not let go of the ruminations and fantasies. Our efforts to behave compassionately are mocked or criticized by a world that believes only fools would return hurt with kindness.
Someone is trying to disarm us.
But we, you and I, we know who our Father is and we listen to His Word. May the Spirit bring us strength and comfort in this holy battle.