I recently wrote a blog about the subjectiveness of reality and refraining from judgement of others. As usual, just when I think I know all the answers and am like, “Hey, guys! If you want to practice Christianity OR just plain be good people, don’t judge others. Period.”
And that remains true. We still are not supposed to judge others. Period. But the Gospel message on this past Sunday also calls us to take action and talk to others when they offend us. This is hard!
I’m a woman of color and a mother of six children. People I consider friends and perfect strangers say offensive things to me daily. “Are you done having kids? You know how that happens, right? Are they all from the same father? Your baby needs socks.” And so on.
But Jesus says when someone offends us, we must first talk to them in private so as not to embarrass them. If we talk to them in private and they don’t listen, we bring a couple others to join us, kind of like an intervention. If they still don’t listen and change their behavior, we take the matter to the Church. If after all that, they refuse to change, we treat them like a Gentile or tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-20) A what?!?
One of our parish priests used to remind us that we Catholics, proud as we might be of our religious tradition and identity, are in fact the Gentiles. You’re either a Gentile or a Jew. You’re not both. So, if we go back and look through a historical lens, recognizing of course that Jesus, our God, was a Jew, it’s important to know that Jews didn’t talk to Gentiles. They were/are unclean. And I’m sure everyone can imagine how people treated tax collectors. I mean, some things never change. I’m not particularly thrilled with property taxe levies used to buy technology in our school district and have less than amicable feelings about the school board members that supported that plan.
But after reflecting all week, it takes a whole lot of love and guts to approach someone that has offended you and rather than gossiping about them, call them aside and privately tell them how they offended you so they may correct it. That takes love and courage. I know from experience of having tried it once that you also risk losing friendships. People don’t like to be called out, even in private. And I’m not sure how it is for you but certainly in land of the Minnesota nice, people don’t like to feel uncomfortable.
I’ve been struggling this week with balancing nonjudgmentalness with courage to speak out. Because being nonjudgmental does not make it okay to be indifferent. And being indifferent is in fact contrary to love. It is the opposite of love.
I mentioned on Facebook recently that I have friends of all different political affiliations and religions, and I love that. I feel proud that I can kind find more in common with any person than I can find that sets us a part. There is truly more that brings us together than divides us. It’s a beautiful gift to be able to love people and see good in every person. At the same time, I’ve been asking myself this week about the depth of my friendships. Am I really loving my neighbor if we are friends but I’m not willing to engage in uncomfortable conversations or call them out when I disagree with them? No, I’m not being the best person I can be and I can do better.
So, here’s something I feel like talking about right now. I am pro-DACA and being pro-DACA is pro-life. Being pro-life means we want ALL persons to be treated with and live in dignity. We believe personhood begins at conception and that we do not have the moral authority to take life and to choose who deserves to live. I expect to write more about the racist, classist foundation of the prochoice movement later but sharing this is a start for me.
I am so thankful for Pope Francis and I love this article: https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/09/11/pope-francis-says-https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/09/11/pope-francis-says-daca-repeal-not-pro-life-and-refutes-climate-changedaca-repeal-not-pro-life-and-refutes-climate-change