Kill Them With Kindness

Gospel for Sunday, February 20, 2011

A reading from Matthew 5: 38-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Wow!  This is such a tall order!  Perfection is not possible in this life, however, we are all called to be saints.  Holiness is not just for nuns and priests, monks and friars.  We are to use our state in life – the path that God has chosen for each of us  – to grow in holiness and perfection.

Our family members and coworkers can help us to grow in holiness, even inadvertently.  Last year, one of my colleagues said something in a way that really, hurt my feelings.  I don’t think she meant for her words to cut me so deeply, but they did.  I walked away stunned, hot tears streaming down my face.  I hate it how I cry when I get angry!  This anger stayed with me for a couple of weeks, so I decided to go to confession.  I told the kind, old priest about what had happened, and how I was having difficulty forgiving – letting go.  He empathized, absolved me of my sin, and suggested that I “kill the woman with kindness,” and pray for her.  Sound like Matthew’s gospel?

Well, God has quite the sense of humor, because for the next few days, this lady sat next to me at the lunch table in the teachers’ lounge.  I realized that I was being tested!  Had I really forgiven?  If so, then why was this woman’s close proximity to me at the table so uncomfortable?  I made a decision to go out of my way to be kind to her.  I opened doors for her.  I put prayer cards in her mailbox.  I prayed for her.  I greeted her each day with a cheerful, “Good morning.”

A funny thing happened over the next few weeks.  This lady did not change, but I began to change.  I had altered my manner toward her – treating her with the utmost kindness and respect.  After awhile, she ceased to irk me.  We may not be kindred spirits, but I have found that we have a respect toward one other that we did not have before.

The next time someone hurts your feelings, irks your soul, or “gets your goat,” try a new approach!  Kill them with kindness!  This experience will help you to grow more perfect, as your Father is perfect!


About danardoyle

I am a Catholic, working wife and mother. I have three children ages 10, 16 and 23. I am extremely busy, as you can imagine. I aim each and every day to put God first in my life, to teach my children the Faith, to be a supportive spouse, keep the house in order, and do my job outside of the home well, too. That's an impossible task - without Divine intervention! Here, I hope to share my triumphs and struggles with other working moms in the same boat. I will share the tools I have discovered to making it all work - most days!
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