Do you know someone with “selective” hearing? Do you know anyone who may have a “selective” memory? I know there have been moments in my life where I thought – or maybe I should say – accused – a person of having one or both.
After looking over the list of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, I realize that I too am guilty of having a ‘selective’ memory. I do NOT bear wrongs patiently. I become the greatest attorney in the United States whenever someone treats me unfairly. I may only present my opening and closing arguments to the jury in my own head – but I present those arguments and they are anything but brief.
I definitely don’t ever think – you know, “I should bear this wrong patiently”.
I can honestly say I forgot that this is a Work of Mercy.
I know from time to time I’ve thought – Jesus was innocent – but then it’s easy to put Him on the pedestal of being God. I know He was both fully God and fully Man – but when I’m mad at someone for treating me unfairly, my selective memory kicks in – and I only think, “well, He’s God and I’m not”!
The fact that this act is so difficult for me makes me extremely aware that I need God’s grace. It also reminds me to be thankful that He is patient. I need to put a conscious effort into changing my natural extinct to defend myself and “the truth” as my attorney voice demands in these situations.
Before writing this post, I knew I had to do some reading and reflecting. I always do some reading before I write about a Work of Mercy, but this time it was more like studying and homework. I knew when I read this one that I am HORRIBLE at this work of Mercy. Who am I to give advice? Luckily, I found someone to enlighten me. I watched this video at Dynamic Catholic. I then realized I need to remember three things the next time someone treats me unjustly.
1. Don’t try to change this person. Don’t think that God wants you to change this person. This is something that I really believe, if I accept it, I will be more at peace.
2. Be Patient. Find relief in the fact that the work of Mercy implies that if we wait longer, it will get better. I am really glad this work of Mercy is not worded, “Bear wrongs indefinitely” or “Bear Wrongs for all eternity”. There’s a silver lining.
3. Remember how important empathy is when the tables are turned. I constantly want people to understand where I’m coming from. I need to remember – the person who is hurting me also has a story, a reason, a wound and a desire to be loved. I am usually pretty good with empathy – except when I feel personally harmed or attacked. I think if I can remember the first two “rules”, I will be able to “put myself in his or her shoes”.
How do you bear wrongs patiently? Do you have any advice to those who are not very good at it?