Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday after Epiphany: We Receive From Him Whatever We Ask

When challenging times create rifts between loved ones, how do we find ourselves together again?

I asked myself this question recently. In an attempt to be seen and heard, I’d sent a letter to a loved one, attempting to convey some boundaries I felt had been crossed as well as reassuring loving words about my love for them and desire for them in my life. The letter was not received well; The response ladened with harsh toned angry language. It had been misconstrued and its intention, misunderstood. I felt confused and rejected. Even as I tried to apologize, the situation worsened. We could not see eye to eye. It got pretty dark.

I thought to myself, "How can such animosity can exist between people who genuinely love one another? Between family members?"

I began to re-read our correspondences repetitiously with prayer to try and make sense of things. Two questions came to light:

Jesus, how do you see this person?
Jesus, how do you see me?

"We receive from him whatever we ask" - 1 Jn 3:22

It would take some time, but I began to remember and rediscover the goodness this person had brought into my life - all their wonderful and beautiful qualities. I remembered their kind and caring words; The prayers they had once said for me. As the reminders flowed, I continued to remain with what Jesus was trying to show me.

I revisited the words that were exchanged. I began to see that they were born out of hurt, pain, and fear, not spite or malice; That the other party was also struggling to tell me something. I began to be able to put myself in their shoes and see their point of view.

I was reminded that Jesus sees the goodness within us above everything else that we do; That we are never beyond redemption. His love for us is that powerful. He sees us with eyes of mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. He sees beyond our walls, His eyes piercing through the fronts that we put up, straight through to the core of ourselves. And, loves us in spite of and because of our humanity.

I began to see beyond my own pain and the hurt of the other party; I saw who was hurting the most - God, because there was discord between us, whom He loves so deeply and unconditionally. It was just difficult to see that in the beginning because I think sometimes the deepest wounds in our lives are caused by those who we love the most. And, vice versa - that we have the ability to inflict pain in others lives because of how much the other loves us.

But, when we do this, at the core is God who, in my humble opinion, when it comes to matters like these, does not choose sides. Rather, His desire is communion and unity. So, He hurts the most because it does not matter per say, who started it, who said what, who was right or wrong, or who needs to apologize. There is a conflict within His Body, among those whom He loves the most.

Lord, with humble hearts, we ask you for peace, compassion, understanding, mercy, and forgiveness in the conflicts that create separation among us. We ask you for reconciliation.    

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