Lent is ending soon and we can make the best of it by exiting out of our spiritual comfort zone and perhaps the physical one as well and do something that makes us uncomfortable-against our usual split-second reactions. Perhaps we are apt to be unkind to a particular someone or even towards certain members of our family. Resist that urge to be unkind by monitoring what and how we say words. That phrase, 'sticks and bones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me' is somewhat false, because mean words can and do hurt. If you feel like saying something mean just out of spite, say a quick prayer and say something nice about them to their face. Being kind to people we don't like is part of Christian virtue as well as just common courtesy! It is hard to put in practice, but practice makes perfect.
Maybe we need to start treating our friends and family as if they are strangers? Shock! Why would I suggest that? It is very easy to take for granted those around us and we subsequently become complacent in our behaviour towards our parents, sisters, brothers, friends, etc.. When we are always around certain people like our family or friends, we become comfortable, lax and expect others to put up with our attitudes and behaviours because we think they will always be there for us, no matter how we treat them and frequently, our behaviour isn't charitable, polite, kind, accepting, etc. towards those we love, the opposite of when we are with complete strangers.
More often than not, we tend treat strangers better than we treat our own family! Strangers briefly
enter and exit our lives, we tolerate and show them an interlude of kindness, graciousness and courtesy. Families and friends stay with us as we age (hopefully if we didn't burn bridges or vice versa), we get busy and enthralled with our day-to-day lives and tend to casually cast aside those we love and care about, hence not taking the time to be loving and nurturing towards them. We see them everyday. We talk to them often and therefore take them for granted for them being here. Do we really listen and care about what our parents are telling us? The wisdom dispensed by them is sometimes hard to take. It's hard for most young people to be patient with the advice our parents are telling us. Us 20-somethings don't like to be reminded about things, corrected on our socially accepted behaviour, etc.. because it makes us feel hampered and childish. Perhaps we need to have that humiliation once in a while, to feel foolish for acting as a child. Also, we, the young people, also seem to think and believe we know everything about everything at our age, and when in fact we probably don't! We also tend to forget that our parents were young once and who also felt the same way as we all do now.
If Catholics weren't so self-righteous and arrogant about the Faith and were more kind to those who do not accept it, we could be converting them through Christian example.
So many Saints converted people by their example.
Why can't we do the same?
We all have friends and enjoy their company and companionship. What if our friends or parents died suddenly and you had a particular issue with them and now you can't remedy it because they are gone forever! Suppose you wanted to tell them something important or do something for them, but now you can't because they aren't around anymore to receive it. Then we live a life of regret for not having said or done something when we should've- when we had time and the opportunity to! Many love relationships fail and also families and friendships become stressed because we take for granted for their existence. It's an endless cycle of subtle neglect.
It is a shame, really. Think of it. What if God came down to the world and became a stranger or more fitting, a family member of ours. If we knew that, say, our brother is God, would we treat Him with contempt, anger, unkindness, lacking in charity, unfaithfulness, rudeness, grudges, meanness, frivolous promises, half-hearted compliments and lacking Christian virtues? I think not, or at least hope that people, do not allow themselves to be corrupted with such terrible attitudes!
On a side note, those who are terminally ill and the disabled, are usually very loving, kind, and gracious, etc.. to their family members and friends. Why? Why is that someone who knows they will die from a disease, or those who cannot run around and are confined to a chair or bed, so happy and full of love? That is a question for you, the reader, to ponder.
So, for this last part of Lent, let us all try to be more loving and kind towards our parents, siblings and friends because we will never know when they will leave this earth. If you love someone tell them, don't wait until it's too late. If you have a grudge, or are in needing forgiveness or even need to forgive someone, remedy it while you still can. If you haven't spoken to a friend for a very long time, call them up.
Let us set aside our egos, our self-pride and self-respect and be more giving of ourselves, not only in our good works but in how we love and treat those we care about. Jesus always loves us no matter how we treat Him!
Let us change the world, by starting with the little things of kindness- to 'pay it forward', so to speak. After all, we may unknowingly be making someone's day better with just a little kindness and also "entertaining angels without knowing it"- Heb. 13:2.