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Great Expectations

When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. ~Thich Naht Hanh.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. ~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Great quotes from great teachers. The simplicity is obvious. Putting these words into practice is a tad more difficult. They tell us to put ourselves aside and work to help even those who persecute us.

I can barely do this with my kids. When my son is hitting one of his little sisters, I rarely seek to understand his motives. But that’s exactly what he needs. He needs to know that I will stick by his side no matter what. He needs to know that I still love him no matter what. I need to help him work through his pain, despite what’s he’s done to my daughter.

We’re taught to do this with strangers, even enemies. We may be tempted to brush it off as too difficult. We justify that they’re ideals that perhaps someday we’ll reach, or that they’re meant only for the truly spiritual. I disagree. So would Jesus. He notes: Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Even Jesus, the world’s greatest teacher, expected his students to achieve the ideals he modeled and beyond. To go out into the world and do what he did – many did, and still do. These quotes remind us of the incredible responsibility we have to our fellow man.

We’ve got judgement down to a science – idiot, jerk, loser, nut job. The descriptions and the feelings beneath run deep. Yet, it’s those we judge most harshly who need the most love from us.

Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson


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