“Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
It’s easy to hear Jesus’ commands today—two of which are tough—and to focus on the middle one, the familiar Golden Rule. I think, though, that I often mistake the simplicity of the Golden Rule for easiness. I think of traffic: I only accidentally cut people off, but others who cut me off must be selfish jerks.
St. Ignatius knew this temptation in the Golden Rule and in interpreting actions. He noticed that we tend to desire mercy for our mistakes, but justice on those of others. His advice was to reverse this and to hold ourselves to the demands of justice for our actions while praying for a softer heart and mercy for others.
As I reflect on the Golden Rule, what kind of heart do I bring to understanding others’ actions? Do I show the same mercy to others that I often desire in my own struggles?
—Nick Courtney, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the USA Central and Southern Province currently working at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston, TX, where he teaches history and coaches football.
Lord, help me to reach for understanding and forgiveness for others rather than condemnation. Open my eyes to see your face even in those who hurt me. Give me a heart of patient love for others, just like the heart you have for me. Amen
—Nick Courtney, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!