Forgiveness & Community

Nov 3, 2013 by

Kevin wrote recently about community and where we find it. One aspect of community that is much needed is forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a key aspect in our relationships with God and our relationships with one another. One aspect in forgiveness is trying to look at others in the best light possible: giving them the benefit of the doubt when they have done something questionable, concentrating on their positive qualities, not giving yourself the chance to develop any sort of grudge. Looking at a picture of my daughter yesterday, I was thinking about how we only keep the best pictures we shoot, and how that can be analogous to the way God wants to look at us as fundamentally good, how we ought to look at others, and how we will be in Heaven, so I wrote a post about it on my personal blog, but it is also something very applicable to the NCLM.

Having been here, working in community with the Fords for the last 4.5 months, I can’t count the number of times I’ve done something stupid, or made a mistake, or just been running late, and never received any inclination of a grudge. This was the case today when my wife and I held up a family lunch over at the Fords for 30+ minutes because we were running late. There was no scowl, nor even a snide comment when we walked in (things almost expected in many circles). There was simply a concerned phone call before we arrived. As we walked in, we apologized, but we could tell by their responses that it was already water under the bridge. Time and time again, I am moved by their understanding.

When we pursue this goal of a rural life, lived in community with other faithful Catholics, we must keep mercy in mind: God’s mercy for us, and our mercy for others (the only proper response).

Trying to be more merciful,

Casey

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6 Comments

  1. Marcus Grodi

    Thank you, Casey, excellent. One of the greatist gifts of community is the opportunity for an environment where we can avoid the “sin of projection.” None of us really knows what any other person is thinking (even our spouses!). We think we do, but we could be completely wrong. As a result, when someone does something or says something we don’t understand or don’t like, we project unto them motives or attitudes—maybe motives or attitudes that we think we would have if we said or did what they said or did. In doing so, we project onto others our own worst attitudes and motives, which we, of course, would never do (!), when in fact we may have no idea what that other person is thinking. Thus builds bitterness and prejudice. Community allows us the avenues of trust and love to humbly “speak the truth in love,” to, as you wrote Casey, “look at others in the best possible light: giving them the benefit of the doubt when they have done something questionable …”; even the possibility of asking “I’m sorry. I probably misunderstood you, but why did you say that? or do that?”, or as you said, a simple “concerned phone call.”

    • I agree, Marcus. I remember reading about this topic from St. Francis De Sales, and it really struck me as a common problem for many today (myself included, especially). I tried to find what I had read before, but couldn’t. In my short search, however, I found this quote from him: “When a just man can no longer explain either the fact or the intention of someone whom he otherwise knows to be virtuous, he still will not pass judgment on him but puts it out of his mind and leaves the judgment to God.”

  2. Great analogy and way of thinking…and that picture of Miriam is adorable!

  3. This is a heartwarming post. Successful living in any community requires multiple acts of kind forgiveness. Your analogy to the photo is so beautiful. We can never learn too much about forgiveness.

    • Thank you, Lora. Yes, I keep learning more and more each day what it mean to really humbly forgive, and how much more the Lord has forgiven (and keeps forgiving) me. Praise God for Confession!

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