I immediately felt defensive

Then suddenly, I saw the situation from my neighbor’s point of view

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

2 min read
J. H., Texas

One of my jobs at the parish where I work is editor of the weekly parish bulletin. A parishioner came to me, requesting that his announcement of an upcoming event be included in the bulletin.

Later, as I read carefully what he had written, I immediately thought his wording was rather harsh and would sound abrasive to many readers. I decided it would help his efforts if I reworded the announcement, which I did.

When I saw him some days later, he said, “You didn’t put my announcement in the bulletin.” I assured him that I had. Later in the week, when he was in the office, he said, “You didn’t use any of what I wrote!”

I immediately felt defensive and said it was my responsibility to use my editorial judgment and that it was often necessary to condense and edit announcements. For the rest of the day and all that evening, I was agitated about the situation and went over it in my mind, explaining to myself the reasons for my action.

The next morning I read a meditation on putting the words of the Gospel into practice, with the emphasis on giving God, who is merciful, the first place in my heart.

Suddenly, I saw the whole situation from my neighbor’s point of view. He had entrusted his work to me, expecting me to honor what he had written, and I dismissed it in favor of my own way. I knew I had to apologize to him for this and for not discussing my concerns beforehand.

In a clear way, I understood it was the Holy Spirit who opened my eyes to go beyond my own ego and see the situation from my neighbor’s perspective. I said a quick prayer as I drove to work, asking the Holy Spirit to give me an opportunity to make things right with my neighbor.

Later that morning, as I was walking to the post office, I looked up, and there he was, walking down the sidewalk toward me! I knew he was heading to the church for daily Mass and asked if I could walk with him. He listened quietly to my apology and then assured me that it was okay. When we parted, I felt a sense of peace. 

In striving to live the Word of God with others of the Focolare, I received the guidance of the Holy Spirit that helped me change my mind and heart to better love and serve my neighbor and the Church.


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