May 30, 2009

Nothing Says You Need To Like THEM

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are people that you will NEVER like. No matter what, you are never going to like them. You feel lucky when shouts are not exchanged and fists are not thrown. If I can leave the room without shaking and turning red, that's a good encounter.

Your parents, if they were like mine, tell you: "Just ignore them"

CAN you just ingnore THEM? Should you?

I say: no.

Scripture says, Matthew 5:43-48; Love thy neighbor and love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.

Huh?

That does not sound like a command to ignore people you dislike. If you are praying for them, you obviously have them on your mind and you are consciously making a decision to reach out to, or for, that person in prayer.

It's not easy, is it? I'd rather have my teeth pulled with no anesthetic than pray for someone I can hardly tolerate. My old boss comes to mind. My "challenging" neighbors come to mind. There you are in the quiet of the Chapel praying for these...uh, folks.

I've done it.

I'm not saying that the very next day we were having dinner together but I have seen some thawing of the icebergs. Maybe it's not that THEY changed when I prayed for them or our relationship. Maybe it's that I changed. They may never know that I prayed for them and our relationship but I do. The Lord knows. My Angel knows.

Maybe it's enough for YOU to know that you made the effort and remembered them in prayer. If you are going to go that far, why not do what YOU can do beyond that?

14 Comments:

Anonymous David said...

You would be wrong. There are times when we shouldn't acknowledge a person. The Proverbs tell us to "avoid the man of adversity." Additionally, 2 John 6-13 teach clearly:

"For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; 4 this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk. Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist. Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense. Anyone who is so "progressive" as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, DO NOT RECEIVE HIM in your house OR EVEN GREET HIM; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works. Although I have much to write to you, I do not intend to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and to speak face to face so that our joy may be complete. The children of your chosen sister send you greetings."

Is there some reason you are attempting to "correct" the Word of God?

May 30, 2009 11:14 AM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

St. Therese went out of her way to be kind towards people she did not have a natural liking for. And remember Jesus said something like, "If you greet your neighbors only, what is so good about that? Even the pagans do as much. What I say, love your neighbor... do good to those who hate you... pray for those who persecute you."

You got it right Cath.

May 30, 2009 12:51 PM  
Blogger Adoro said...

Cathy, I heard some great advice on the radio yesterday. Before you pray your rosary, pray very specifically for those people, for your relationship with them, whatever, for about 20-30 seconds. Then give it all to God. Pray the Mysteries with Our Lady, and let her powerful intercession take on the problems.

Another piece of advice I got in Confession just last night: if, say, your encounters are those that maybe need to be confessed (not saying they are), or maybe even you just need advice from the priest, etc. Well, last night I was told that the grace of the Sacrament doesn't just bring us forgiveness, but acts to heal those relationships that need healing. So even if it's something we can't fix, or was never really "there" to begin with, God can enter into that if we let Him, and He can bring about miracles.

May 30, 2009 2:07 PM  
Blogger Adoro said...

David ~ Exactly WHERE in that passage you quoted (and which, incidentally, I actually read just last night), does it say not to PRAY for those who persecute you, your enemies, etc?

Perhaps they can't be received, but they are still children of God, in need of grace, and in need and deserving of prayer.

Or are you trying to make the scriptures contradictory in order to prove some sort of false superiority?

May 30, 2009 2:09 PM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

At the homeschool conference today, Fr. Samuel Martin (diocese of LaCrosse) said that many times, what made the saints, in fact "saints" was that they were able to see the good in others. Look at Mother Teresa.

It's one thing to correct people in their sin, but another to be uncharitable and judgmental.

May 30, 2009 3:29 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

David: The passage you are citing is clearly speaking of very bad people.

Under no circumstances would I suggest that we should associate with evil people. However, we should pray for them.

I was speaking, in this post, of people who are not evil but people we have differences of opinion with, people who annoy us, who test our patience.

Adoro in your first comment: Good advice!

May 30, 2009 3:54 PM  
Anonymous David said...

You weren't specific Cathy. You wrote, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are people that you will NEVER like. No matter what, you are never going to like them. You feel lucky when shouts are not exchanged and fists are not thrown. If I can leave the room without shaking and turning red, that's a good encounter.

Your parents, if they were like mine, tell you: "Just ignore them"

CAN you just ingnore THEM? Should you?

I say: no."

I was merely pointing out that the Scriptures CLEARLY to avoid those who will not receive the Gospel. There are indeed those who should be ignored. There is nothing "uncharitable and judgmental" about this. We should not place ourselves above the Word of God.

May 30, 2009 5:24 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I meant to write "teach clearly" above.

David.

May 30, 2009 5:25 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

David: I knew I was not specific in the original post. I did not think I needed to be. I still maintain the Scripture you cited refers to evildoers.

If we avoid all people who will not receive the Gospel, how are we to convert anyone?

May 30, 2009 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Brian T. said...

Actually you are mistaken COA. The Scriptures also exhort us to avoid people who [although not "evil" per se] create dissensions: "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles, in opposition to the teaching that you learned; avoid them." (Romans 16:17).

David was right. Perhaps you should have been more clear. We read in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: "But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them."

So the Scriptures tell us to avoid not only evil doers but those who are argumentative and "create dissensions."

It's okay to admit you were wrong.

May 30, 2009 9:35 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Brian T: I was not wrong. You and David are reading FAR more into my post than I intended.

May 31, 2009 11:41 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

CoA - you could just ignore them....j/k!!

May 31, 2009 11:51 AM  
Anonymous David said...

You are wrong Cathy. But too proud to admit it. God has graciously provided verses relevant to the choosing of friends within the confines of the book of Proverbs. Proverbs states in chapter thirteen, verse twenty “he that walketh with the wise shall be wise.” From this verse a Christian can infer that his friends must be wise, a trait that is said earlier in to book to be someone that “Fears the Lord.” [1] It is these people, those that fear God, that make the best friends as they can help provide wise counsel and act in a manner befitting of a close companion.

There are many more verses in Proverbs on the avoidance of friends and companions detrimental to a person’s spiritual growth. This is a testament to the want of God for his children’s companions in life. First and foremost a person is to avoid sinners as friends. Proverbs 1:10 says “if sinners entice thee consent thou not.” This is not saying that a person can have no friends for everyone sins. Rather, the verse says how a person should avoid people that cause others to sin and fall away from the path as a result of his direct and unhindered actions. In the same manner Proverbs says “forsake the foolish and live.”[2] These two categories of people cover all the types of people that are unfit to be friends. These people range from “angry” [3] to “vain.” [4] Christians are to avoid these people which are detrimental to faith and the development thereof.

Proverbs also speaks on the effect that friends have on an individual. These effects can be either good or bad. A good friend will build up a person. Proverbs 27:17 says “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” This is the effect that a friend should have on a person. In time good friends will shape each other to become sharper than they were before the onset of friendship. This is evidenced in numerous biblical examples including what is perhaps the best example, Jonathan and David. However, friends can also bring a person to ruin. About an angry man, Proverbs 22:25 says “Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” Proverbs 13:20 also says “a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Friends are people that affect others around them greatly and as such there is always a positive or negative effect from their actions in a person’s life.

Proverbs says many things about friends not covered in this essay. However, from an cursory glance at the book, a person can posit these three things: what kind of friends should a person have, what people should we avoid as friends, and the effect of friends on a person’s life. Friends are important people that will affect a person in many sorts of ways. Perhaps one of the most evident forms of this is the common claim that long-time married couples look alike. [5] This is not the only way as peer pressure shows. [6] If a person is greatly affected by people they do not know, how much more so would they be by people they know well? Proverbs teaches Christians to choose friends wisely and avoid those that need to be avoided.

References:

Proverbs 1:7
Proverbs 9:6
Proverbs 22:24
Proverbs 28:19

I won't post here again. You obviously will not tolerate constructive criticism. Peace.

May 31, 2009 3:42 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

David: I am fully willing to accept constructive criticism. However, I maintain that you and Brian T are going off on tangents that have nothing to do with this post. First it was "don't associate with people who will not receive the Gospel" (which was not a point of this post). Next it was "don't have these people as friends"-also not a point of this post.

In our daily life we could very well have encounters with people who would meet your criteria for association: they have accepted Christ yet you can still barely stand to be around them due to irritating habits of theirs, their attitude, their demeanor. But, maybe they try. Maybe you can find enough commonality to reach a plateau of understanding. You may never be "friends" with his person but a peace can be achieved thru prayer and working on your possible culpibility in the relationships failures.

I'm going to dare to suggest that this entire thread is an excellent case in proving my point that there are people in life we disagree with and may not like. I think the comments have veered far afield and I'm not sure we interpret Scripture the same way, BUT I'm not going to cut you off.

May 31, 2009 6:21 PM  

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