Carol Ann Reiff of Whitehall, MT, USA
O let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
but establish the righteous,
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God.
God is my shield,
who saves the upright in heart. -Psalm 7:9-10
A friend of mine is heartbroken. She came to my country with many dreams and hopes for her future. She is a naturalized citizen. She has had many opportunities but also many disappointments due to outward actions of prejudice against her. She is honest, kind, loving, humble, a hard worker, and a wonderful person. She has been falsely accused, verbally attacked, and taken advantage of because of her vulnerability as a person who was not born in my country.
As I reviewed some of the things that have happened to her, I wondered how people could treat another human that way, especially in a place that was originally a melting pot of immigrants. My answer came as I remembered a scene from my childhood. I was walking down the main street of a town nearby with a close relative. We were always friendly as we passed people so when an African American man passed by, I looked up, smiled and said, “Hi.”
My relative was usually a kind man, so I was surprised when he said, very gruffly, “Don’t you ever talk to those (racial slur)!” Even as a child I knew he was wrong. He reacted out of fear and ignorance. I think fear is an enemy to love. In thinking about this I realized I, too, have reacted in fear. I have withheld my love and association from some people who think differently from me, refusing to really listen to their side. I have said hurtful things behind their backs. I’m writing this as a reminder to myself and anyone who might read this. The hope for our world lies in getting behind the eyes of other people, seeing life from their perspective. Even if we feel sure they are wrong, it is about showing respect and kindness to whomever we meet. My heart is broken for my friend. Bullying does not just happen on school yards. Change begins with the person in the mirror.
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
Moving Toward the Peaceful One
As Jesus was nearing the final days of his life, he wept over the city and proclaimed, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:41-42).What are the things that make for peace in our lives, communities, and around the world? As we move through the Easter season, spend time in silent refection or journaling each day to notice: Am I moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One? Pay attention to your attitudes, actions, and relationships this day. When did you most embody the peaceful One in your daily living? When were your thoughts or actions contrary to the peace of Jesus Christ? How might Jesus, the peaceful One, who is always near to you, be inviting you to draw nearer to him through your daily living?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.