Attitude and Temptation

In Psalm 14, verse 6, we learn that “the poor” have God as “their refuge.” In the Psalms the poor are also referred to as “the just” and as God’s people. So, really anyone trying to love and trust God despite all the scary, nightmarish, frustrating, irrational things he or she encounters on life’s journey.  I hope this means you, dear Reader!

I realized this morning, I think for the first time that sometimes temptations are not actions or words. Sometimes a temptation can be an attitude. While reading an excerpt from one of Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s sermons about praying to get through temptations, I had a revelation!

If I decide to be miserable or anxious or angry and do nothing to convert those emotions into contentment, hope, joy, then I have given in to a temptation. We need to remember that God is our refuge.

I have a choice on how I decide to act or react to situations. St. Alphonsus’ recommendation is to pray through it. And I have seen the fruits of that advice personally. When Jesus tells us in the Gospel to “pray for those who persecute us,” that is not giving in to the temptation to speak ill or treat others badly. We must not respond in kind to another person’s vitriol.

When someone brings a metaphorical knife to a fight, we don’t bring a knife or worse. No, we bring love and understanding. We bring mercy and kindness. We bring compassion. I am here to tell you that praying for someone who is persecuting you is NOT easy. At first. But the longer you continue to pray for that person or people, the easier it becomes. And the more compassion and sympathy you have for someone who is so hurt or so lost in hatred and fear that they are irrational and intimidating. But we can’t be intimidated. We truly can start to see, through those prayers which link us into God’s love, that these people who want to wound, intimidate, dominate really are pitiable people. And, as Jesus prays at His crucifixion, “they know not what they do.”
These persecutors don’t know true love, they certainly don’t know God, or if they ever had a glimpse, they’ve turned their backs and walked straight into all the negative, and yes evils, the world has to offer. Lord knows there are plenty.

So I would humbly offer is that those of us who know better seek God’s help in dealing with our brothers and sisters who are so scared and lost that it’s made them belligerent and unwilling or unable to see us in any sort of positive light. Mainly because they lack any positivity within. When you can’t see God or have blinders on to avoid His gaze and ignore His presence, that will leave you empty and so afraid. And with no God and His goodness to fill that vacuum, something sinister will move in. Let’s pray for the persecutors. Let’s tell them we’re praying for them. Maybe even pray for them as they are yelling at us or belittling us. Remember who’s you are and rejoice. But pray for them and do not be tempted to do the ‘easier wrong’ because it gives temporary satisfaction. In the end that response makes everything and everyone worse off than they were before. I promise that as you tap into God’s love and mercy you will begin to see your ‘enemies’ as lost children of God who need a loving hand to guide them home again or for the first time…

Shine Like The Sun, by Matt Maher

How beautiful are the hands and feet of those
Bringing the good news to all the world
Bringing the good news to all the world
How beautiful the sound of all Your people in love
With someone so much greater than themselves
Someone so much greater than themselves
You’ve made us ready

Shine like the sun
Shine like the sun
Shine like the sun for everyone
For everyone
For everyone

How beautiful are the hands and feet of those
Working in the vineyard of the Lord
Working in the vineyard of the Lord
Blessed are those going in the name of the Lord
In the middle of the lost and the poor
We’re living in the name of the Lord
You’ve made us ready
You’ve made us worthy

Shine like the sun
Shine like the sun
Shine like the sun for everyone
For everyone
For everyone

Announcing peace as the prodigals come home
You open up the doors and the prodigals come home
Setting the captives free by Your word
You free us by Your word
You free us by Your word

(Go to https://www.amazon.com/Shine-Like-The-Son/dp/B0016O50VS for a sample of the above song!)

 

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