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May 30th
Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. March 09, 2009 - Monday Meditation (Focus on Finding People's Strengths!)
March 09, 2009 - Monday Meditation (Focus on Finding People's Strengths!) PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - The Daily B.R.E.A.D.
Thursday, 05 March 2009 19:06
It's a mistake to focus on the weaknesses of others. The self-proclaimed "experts" who spend their time telling others what's wrong with them never win with people. Most people simply avoid them.

Daniel 9:4b-10
Psalm 79:8, 9, 11 and 13

Luke 6:36-38 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (37) "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; (38) give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."

Meditation by Janine ter Kuile (Creighton)

I read a story from NPR (National Public Radio) this week, about a carnival in Brazil where 7,000 men in white turbans fill the streets, ‘a sea of white cloth on black skin, flowing and bobbing to the music of hand drums, cowbells and chants of praise’. Called the Filhos de Gandhy, peace is their philosophy, underlying everything they do, trying to bring it to the masses. They also forbid members to consume alcohol or drugs during marches. It is done to keep the peace… not a matter of keeping pure.  (Did I mention that women come from all over to meet them, because they find that appealing?) Anthropologists speak to their ability to move between diverse cultures, taking international elements and transforming them into something local. 

In Luke’s gospel, the points are clear: be compassionate, don’t judge, forgive, give to the poor.  By whatever degree you do these things, it will be given back to you….maybe not here on this earth, but certainly when we meet God after this life.  None of these things comes easy, we’re only human after all…  Jesus asks us to love our enemy, but to love our enemy is not Natural.  Why?  Because it’s Supernatural!   So the message is clear, don’t stop at the easier love, but go on to the harder and do it because God does it, even to the unthankful and evil. 

I am leaving for a two-week trip to Uganda, in an effort to get closer to the victims of war and abuse. I don’t expect it will help me understand violence or be mentally prepared to forgive those who have committed unconscionable atrocities.  And because I understand that my beliefs are a function of past conditioning and experiences, I fear I will find it difficult to be open minded. But I know my reason for going there is to see the face of Christ; I am reminded of Fr.Gary Smith, SJ, author of “Radical Compassion”, who says, ‘the mystery of grace is mediated through concrete situations’; the more concrete, the more powerful.

“For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

Whether you are marching in the streets of Brazil touting peace, or travelling to third world countries to grapple with the incomprehension, the vision is, that what the whole world needs is love.  We can do this in our everyday life when we start to think differently about someone we don’t like or when we hesitate to speak badly of another because we’ve been conditioned to do so from past experience.  Transform something international and make it local…then maybe we can be more open to the kind of love that is God’s.

Supplementary Reading

Point out People's Strengths

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us – Romans 12:6

P eople often make a mistake in their personal development when they focus too much on their weaknesses. As a result, they spend all their time trying to shore up those weaknesses instead of maximizing the strengths they possess. Similarly, it's a mistake to focus on the weaknesses of others. The self-proclaimed "experts" who spend their time telling others what's wrong with them never win with people. Most people simply avoid them.

Instead, we need to focus on finding people's strengths and pointing them out. Most people have strengths that they rarely get to use. Those strengths may be job skills, knowledge, general abilities, personality characteristics, or other attributes. I once read an interesting fact based on research, saying that every person can do at least one thing better than ten thousand other people. Think about that! You possess an ability that can't be matched by anyone in your town or neighborhood…or in your college or university…or in your company or maybe even in your industry.

Have you discovered that ability? If so, you are probably well on your way to pursuing your life's purpose. If you haven't, wouldn't you love it if someone came alongside you and pointed it out? How would you feel about that person? I bet you'd be pretty grateful.

Why not try to become that kind of person in someone else's life? When you do, you just might be helping others to discover the thing God created them to do.

* * *

Point out a great strength of someone in your life today.

* * *

Note: The excerpts were taken from the "The Maxwell Daily Reader"

PRAY as if everything depended on HIM. ACT as if everything depended on YOU.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 March 2009 13:00

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