What I See In You, I See In Me

Have you ever known someone who was a black hole of negativity?  

You know, the kind of person who finds the cloud in the silver lining--the one who unceasingly criticizes others, spews hatred, venom, and anger at the world only to alternate with morose, unflagging self-pity.  

I've known a few people like that.  They bring out the worst in me.  

Because the worst in me---is that person.  

Years ago, I was taught by a very kind, wise and insightful man that when I'm fixing someone with the withering gaze of my scrutiny and numbering their faults on my internal ledger where I'm constantly keeping score, that I should repeat these words: 
"What I see in you, I see in me."  
These words have served to sober me more than once, and bring me back from the brink of self-righteous anger and judgment to a place of brokenness, repentance, and openness.  

I'm reminded today that I haven't been saying those words enough lately.  In one of my daily readings this morning, I read this great line from Richard Rohr: 
You cannot build on death.  You can only build on life.  We must be sustained by a sense of what we are for and not just what we are against.
When we refuse to see our own brokenness in the brokenness of others, we are building on death. 

When we allow ourselves to be blinded by self-righteousness, we are building on death. 

When we constantly focus on what we are against, who we are not like, what we won't do, we are building on death.  

Jesus once told his followers not to walk around looking for specks of dust in the eyes of others when we have large wooden planks sticking out of our own.  

Ever the one for injecting a bit of humor into his teaching, Jesus wanted his followers to first be aware of their own limitations before addressing those of others.  Because when you realize you are carrying around a plank, it might humble you enough to show some grace to your sister or brother with a speck.  

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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