As I was pondering what to write today, I kept coming back to a prayer written by Mother Teresa and that I shared as part of the Pastoral Prayer this past Sunday. The Prayer has become known as “Do It Anyway,” and is as follows:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway. Mother Teresa
We are living in times where people believe that if others don’t believe exactly as we do, we can’t associate with them, we can’t be friends, we can’t even like them. I strongly disagree. It is in our differences that we can broaden our own horizons or broaden the horizons of other people. We just have to be willing to listen and not be so insistent that we are always in the right…because the reality of that is, we are not always in the right.
Maybe being open to the opinions of others and listening to what they have to say would allow us to realize that our world is filled with a multiplicity of colors. It is not nor has it ever been just black and white. There are nuances to all opinions and all arguments, and it would be nice if we allowed ourselves to be open to hearing those nuances and try to understand why they exist.
Instead of meeting anger and harsh words with more anger and harsh words, what if we met them in a way that honors the teachings of Jesus and offered grace and mercy instead. What if we chose to follow the advice given by Mother Teresa and just do what we know to be right for each one of us anyway. Because as she wrote what we do is between us and God and not between us and everyone else. The only One we are trying to live our life for is God and what others think or do doesn’t matter anyway.