Secret Of Love May Be In Realizing That Most People Are Better Than You Think
By Michael H. Brown
Once, while visiting Medjugorje, we heard an old, infirm priest give a sermon that has always stuck with us. This was a palsied priest, barely audible, but for some reason, this part of his sermon -- and only this part -- we could hear.
What he said was quite remarkable. He voiced the thought that when we get to Heaven, we'll all be surprised at how good -- deep down -- everyone is (or at least most people).
Think about that for a moment: We spend a lot of time looking at the evil, the darkness, in everyone and may one day find that beneath all the veneer was light and goodness!
Oh, this is not to negate evil. These days it's everywhere. Just about everyone is infected. But only God knows why people get to where they are and that's why only He can judge.
The rest of us are called only to love.
And we find it easier to love when we think in terms of what the priest said: that many people are probably better and perhaps even much better than we think. It's just that they've been hardened by the trials of life, or darkened -- obscured -- through attacks by the enemy. When we think in those terms -- of life as a big test that can cause a hardness around people, that can build up darkness like a crust -- we can see beyond such a crust into the childlike goodness of everyone (the part of them that is Jesus).
Which brings us to a second way of loving others: visualizing everyone as a child -- or even an infant. When you have trouble loving, when you have trouble with innocent thoughts about someone, see that person as an infant: the struggles he or she may have had, the challenges of his or her life, the hardness that may have set in as a result, but the child beneath.
Remember, we all were; we all started out as babies. And how can you not love someone when you see him or her as a toddler!
When you see someone as a baby, you can't help but like the person. That's because a baby is innocent, fresh from God, has a clean slate. Perhaps we need to visualize others as they were when they had a clean slate! Maybe that's the way God sees them.
Most of the time, we have no problem loving what's holy: God, the saints, Jesus. But how about each other? How about everyone? Jesus said we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.
This is the innocence to which God calls us, and after our earthly trials, at the end of our lives, we will have succeeded -- we'll find direct entry into Heaven -- if, despite everything, despite the suffering, the illnesses, the hardship, despite the emotional upsets, the crises, despite the hurts, we can love and purify enough to return to the innocence of a child.
It all dovetails: loving others brings us to the purity of a child ourselves -- makes us also appear as that lovable infant -- and as Scripture says (Matthew 18:13), it's the child who gains Heaven.
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