Author: Catherine A. Welch (Connecticut, US)
One summer, during my daily walks, I saw a middle-aged couple scurrying to their cars each morning. The man carried a lunch box; I assumed he was going to work. The woman hustled to get two small children in the child seats of her car; I assumed she was the children’s grandmother.
Often she looked unhappy. I wondered if she wanted to take care of the children. Why couldn’t the children’s parents take care of them? Did the children’s parents care that this early morning routine might be difficult for the grandparents? I was quick to think unkindly of those parents whom I had never even seen.
After a few months, I no longer saw the couple, but I learned that their daughter was dying that summer. That’s why the grandparents were caring for the children. How wrong I had been! Now I was filled with compassion for the family.
From this experience, I learned first-hand the meaning of Jesus’ question in Matthew 7:3: ‘Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?’ (NRSV). Only God knows what is in our hearts and what is happening in our lives. Remembering this, we can treat our neighbours with greater compassion.
Prayer: Dear God, help us to look at our neighbours with compassion, not judgement. Amen