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“People Fight for Their Rights and Do Not Understand Their Neighbours”



By Fr. Andrew Lemeshonok

Ofttimes, I have to talk with people who are offended. They keep complaining and whining all the time… They just don’t look at themselves from outside and seek a justification of their sins. This is how our world works. People fight for their rights and obligations and don’t understand their neighbours. That is why each person should deal with himself first. Usually, our opinion is the yardstick that we use to assess our life. Instead, we should ask the people around us, our relatives and neighbours. They will provide the correct judgement of our lives. However, we find it hard to accept their judgements if they are less than favourable.

A fast season is an opportunity to have a critical look on ourselves. One has to curtail one’s own self in order to see and understand one’s neighbour. Otherwise, that person may spend his entire life being hurt and offended, and he will never figure out that it is him who offends and hurts everyone else. People just can’t see that spiritual life is a life of a warrior. We are at war but this war is invisible, and that’s the danger of it. There is a war going on for every soul, for every day, and for every word. If we’re defeated in this war, it will impact those who are close to us. Therefore, we have to bear in mind that there is God, and there is the God’s plan of our salvation; all we need is to accept his plan and not oppose God.

“Why didn’t they reward me? Why didn’t they notice me? Why did they hurt me? Why did they punish me so unjustly?”—these are the questions that thwart our spiritual life. “Why am I so hideous?”—this question is better. Everyone likes to judge and evaluate. Few people can actually listen and do what they are told. Everyone is a philosopher or a theoretician. You must proceed to practice from your philosophising and theorising. You should humble yourself down: make yourself be quiet and hear what you’re being told. There is hardly anyone who can hear what he’s being told immediately: that’s how deaf and lame we’ve become due to our sinful loneliness.

“How do I become a true Christian? How do I learn to see people and accept them?” These questions must be at the centre of your attention. The Church is designed is such a way as to lead an individual out of his spiritual isolation, get him to open his eyes, allow him to see God in his life and say, “I’ve got so much! There are so many good people around me! How shameless I am, how often I am a stumbling block for them!” I wish we all had this kind of spiritual fruit in our lives.

You can be talking about incessant prayer and revelations all the time. In fact, your neighbour is the revelation that you need. Give in, humble yourself down, support or sympathise with your neighbour. This is what spiritual revival begins with. We’ve got a lot of theoretical knowledge but we take too few tangible, practical steps towards God; we don’t want to struggle with ourselves and force ourselves to do something good.

All misunderstandings and conflicts stem from our unwillingness to surrender to the truth of our neighbour. I believe that this is the chief issue with us, no matter where we are. We have left too little space for God and too much space for the sin. Let’s be patient and believe that we will change, albeit not quickly.

August 26, 2018
St. Elisabeth Convent

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