Peace Moment for Aug 15th Deb Crowley
“While it is our responsibility to not purposefully offend another, it is even a greater responsibility that we not let ourselves be offended.” I’ve pondered these words of wisdom many times over the years, sometimes successfully following them. Other times not so much!
Growing up, our family was dirt poor; nine of us lived in a drafty old two bedroom house in Missouri. Winters were particularly gruesome as wind blew through cracks in the walls and a single pot belly stove attempted to keep up with the demanding cold. Christmas neared and our grandparents sent money to our mom to use as she saw fit for presents for us kids. All I asked for on my wish list was a ninety-eight cent fountain pen. It was the going thing, everyone had one and I deeply yearned for that little instrument! Mom assured us each night while we slept, she was working on our presents. We were rather excited.
When Christmas morning came, there were no stockings filled with goodies and very few packages under the tree. My oldest sister received a few gifts, the rest of us just two to share between us. The gifts mom had worked so laboriously on were two very warm, cozy quilts for our beds. I was totally distraught. Couldn’t they have used less than a dollar of the money spent on my sisters’ gifts, or bought one less yard of fabric to purchase my pen?
In the greater picture of life, this incident seems so silly; the quilts, indeed, were what we needed, just not what this nine year old wanted. But, I harbored the anger and sadness for close to forty years! I wasn’t upset with my sister, but felt totally unloved, unimportant, and rejected by my parents. While the pen incident isn’t the only experience that fed those feelings, it seems it was a beginning since it remained extremely vivid as a memory.
What does this have to do with anything? Had I been old enough to heed the wisdom to not allow myself to be offended, perhaps the ensuing forty years would have been a bit less painful! Since that lesson, while not always successful, attempting to avoid taking offense allows me to continue working for Jesus in sometimes very discouraging, heart rending, faith-testing circumstances.
If we truly understand the depth and breadth of God’s love for us, can we learn as a Christian community to not take offense, labor together in love, pray with unity of purpose, listen to understand one another’s hearts and come together under God’s Divine grace to work together to heal the wounds in our communities, indeed, the world? Let there be peace.
Prayer Oh God, sometimes the simplest things in life cause the most distress. Feeling unloved, unheard, uncared for lead us to dark places of self-doubt and fear. How every individual in your world needs to hear they are loved. That they count, that they are worthy. Give us the wisdom to not be offended, the strength to reach out to others with unconditional love and affirmation. Let us bring peace to the sphere of influence in the places we live and be vessels of your peace. Amen.