Last Friday was a very bad day for me as a Christian. I made the mistake of praying for the objectivity to see how I was treating the people around me. Good prayer. Bad results.
God gave me the ability to step back and be a spectator of my own behavior. I was living and watching at the same time. I should have prayed for the ability to slap myself in the back of the head! Good grief. Time after time, it seemed in almost every conversation, I was gossiping, I was putting people down, or I was having a private joke at the expense of someone who was not part of the conversation.
Up until then, I thought I was doing pretty well as a child of the Almighty. I attended Mass, I went to confession, I read the Good Book. I have been studying my Faith, learning more about what it takes.
Unfortunately, I was so deep in the theological forest that I looked right past the Christian trees: we are called to love our neighbor. Loving my neighbor is the rule, even when I’m not actually in the presence of that particular neighbor. You’re not loving him if you’re laughing about him to another person.
Give this prayer a try when you’re feeling pretty smug about your piety. I’ll see you in the line outside the confessional.