Becoming More Yourself
The other day I was reading from Anthony de Mello's excellent book Awareness, and I came across a quote that I had to write down. Here it is:
The three most difficult things for a human being are not physical feats or intellectual achievements. They are, first, returning love for hate; second, including the excluded; third, admitting that you are wrong.At the time I wasn't sure what it was saying to me exactly, but I trusted that it would come to me. Today, as I read it again, I finally saw why it had struck me so strongly.
It comes down to this: If I were able to do these three things well---each and every day of my life--I would actually have a real shot at becoming the person God created me to be.
Jesus taught these three things over and again to his followers.
He took on the worst that the world had to offer, and returned love for hate. Even as he was dying on a Roman cross, Jesus prayed, "Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing."
Jesus constantly reached out to those on the margins--preferring their company, it seems, over the religious elites and holier-than-thou types. His disciples were from those margins, and they never forgot it.
And Jesus also taught his followers to act humbly, to not think too much of themselves, to become servants to one another and to their neighbors.
Jesus taught them to admit when they were wrong about all of the preconceived notions about God, faith, religion and what it meant to be his follower... and it changed them forever.
I'd like to imagine that I can live my life like that--to be shaped by Jesus' example. It's a struggle, to be fair. I want to be my best self, but my lesser self keeps getting in the way.
But in the striving, there is grace and mercy. In the striving, there is hope that I can actually come closer to being the person I'm meant to be. In the striving, I see more clearly how following Jesus changes me, and in turn, I am able to change the world around me.
So I will keep striving. And so should you. Never give up in your effort to become more like Jesus, which ultimately leads you to become more yourself.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.