“Choices made, whether bad or good, follow you forever and affect everyone in their path one way or another.” ~ J.E.B. Spredemann
We often act as if we are alone, unattached, and that nothing that we say or do has an effect on anyone else. The opposite, however, is true. Everything that we say or do has an effect. If we say or do good, we are a blessing to others. If we say or do bad, we end up hurting others.
A true Christian would be very concerned about that. Knowing that our words and deeds affect others, we need to be mindful of them. We need to think about what we are about to say or do. We need to consider the ramifications of our words or works. If we hurt anyone along the way, we need to seek them out and ask forgiveness.
Jesus indicated so often throughout the Gospels that we are attached to all people. As one family, we are responsible for everyone’s needs. I have discovered this over and over again in my years as a priest. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times that someone has recounted what a misspoken word or hurtful action has done to that person and the anger, hurt, or shame that they may have carried for years, sometimes even decades.
We all know how easy it is to fly off the handle, to say something hurtful or spiteful, or to physically hurt someone. Once that fist flies, once those words leave our mouths, there is no taking back. There is only dealing with ramifications of those actions.
If we are humble enough, we will acknowledge our guilt and ask for forgiveness. Sometimes we end up bearing a double burden as well: we feel guilty for what we have said or done and the other person refuses to forgive us.
In order to avoid those occasions, let us do all that we can, every moment of every day, to think, speak, and do good to all.
FAITH ACTION: Think about the consequences of your recent actions. If they have had a negative impact on anyone, do your best to remedy that situation.