The first reading at Mass on Sunday – the 23rd Sunday of the Year – encourages us to be bold in addressing the faults of others!
The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘Son of man, I have appointed you as sentry to the House of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, warn them in my name. If I say to a wicked man: Wicked wretch, you are to die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked man to renounce his ways, then he shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, however, you do warn a wicked man to renounce his ways and repent, and he does not repent, then he shall die for his sin, but you yourself will have saved your life.’
Maybe the occasions where we need to say: ‘Wicked wretch, you are to die’ are actually few and far between,
But probably many more are the occasions when we should be more careful for the well-being of others, and be ready to share our concerns and unease.
It’s said that a good way of approaching concerns is to say for example ‘When I see …. I feel …. because….’ – eg ‘When I see you shouting at the children I feel sad because you seem under so much stress’. It feels safer, because it at one and the same time stands a little way from the matter that you feel needs addressing, but also introduces you yourself into the situation, opening up the possibility of you being part of the solution! Or at least presents you as being in relationship with the person. It invites them to dialogue, rather than simply telling them ‘they’ have a problem.
Sometimes, of course, when they respond, and we learn something more of their situation, we may find there is a good deal to it that we have never appreciated, but may well be able to assist with, or at least provide them with a listening ear.
- Who have you helped recently?
- Who has helped you recently?
Bring your thoughts to prayer.
Image found here: http://dadsteachthebible.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/warn-wicked.html