Thursday, July 03, 2008

Don't worry what others think....

By their very nature, human affections are fickle and unpredictable. Others will be attracted to us or dislike us for the most trivial reasons. And when we add a religious element to the equation, this further complicates the picture. This because religion is often a controversial subject and those of us who take our faith seriously are always at risk of being misunderstood.

By way of example, St. Jean Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, was very popular and loved by so many. But not everyone appreciated the Cure of Ars. Some of his brother priests were jealous of his success and even accused him of being overly zealous, ignorant, and even "deranged." In fact, when such accusations were brought before his Bishop, the Bishop replied, "I wish, gentlemen, that all my clergy had a touch of the same madness."

Ironically, it is most often the very same people who disparage us and question our motives who never seem able to find the time to examine their own motives and methods. Motivated by jealousy and envy, these unhappy souls are anxious to tear down everything we say or do while building themselves up artificially.

Instead of becoming discouraged (which can be a sign of pride), we should instead reflect upon the message in a handwritten sign which was found on Mother Teresa's wall when she died:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; be successful anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, other may be jealous; be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will forget tomorrow; do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give your best anyway.

For you see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.


Anonymous said...

"It was never between you and them anyway." I like that. It's just a nicer way of saying that it doesn't matter what other people think. It only matters what Jesus thinks.

Those who think they are hurting us when they don't like us have an inflated image of themselves. It doesn't matter what they think. Jesus alone will be our judge. Not them.

Anonymous said...

A much-needed truth Paul. Too often many of us worry what others will think or if they'll approve of our words and actions. It can be very tiring. Much better to live as the saints did, our eyes on Jesus alone.

God alone!

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