Recently read an article about a man from the Middle East who now lived in an affluent part of a large city in America. He reported that he frequently was mistaken as the “hired help” when he was out shopping. Often he said it was very irritating and he and his friends from that part of the world would discuss this whenever they were together. It finally occurred to him while praying one day that type of behavior was just perpetuating those feelings. Matthew 7:5 reads “first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
As he prayed, he realized God knows neither victim nor villain and it was his own thinking that needed to be addressed. This certainly stirred up some things in my own thinking that I could address as well.
Recently I read “The Return of The Prodigal Son” written by Henri J. M. Nouwen, a priest enamored with the Painting of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt. The book goes into great depth and was very thought-provoking. Seven of my friends met to discuss this book, which was very enlightening. After reading this story countless times, I would relate to the wayward son and then the son who stayed home, but I had missed so much. It never dawned on me that the son who claimed his inheritance was saying he wanted his Father dead, but that was exactly what he was saying. An inheritance comes upon someone’s death. Then I never realized how very dark the older son must be when he was very jealous and certainly not forgiving of his brother upon his return.
Never had I realized that I needed to become more like the Father, who was so forgiving and compassionate upon the return of the younger son. The author thought three ways to a truly compassionate fatherhood would be grief, forgiveness and generosity. That gave me pause and I have been looking at those qualities this last week.
Luke 15:22 reads, “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet: and bring the fattened calf, kill it and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.”
Below is a favorite poem of mine written by Gilbert Carpenter, Jr.
I see myself as God’s own child, as perfect in His sight.
I see my brother-man as well, a perfect child of light.
Then to complete my prayer, I see him seeing me aright..
I see him seeing me seeing him as perfect in Love’s sight.
Thought this was needed now, as always.
This morning as I glanced on Facebook, I saw, still another political post from a friend. This always annoys me, but I continue to look and judge! Entertaining that type of judgment keeps me from joy if I do not correct my focus, and I was led to Luke 6:42 where it reads, “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”
It then occurred to me that I certainly did not have to read it!