A few weeks ago, the friars in our community had a House Chapter, a regular meeting where we discuss fraternal or spiritual issues to grow closer and build up the fraternity. The topic was on fraternal correction: how we do lovingly approach a brother when issues arise.
Overall, it was a fantastic meeting that showed how mature every member of my house is (not always the case…) One brother brought up a story that has stuck with me for weeks. He shared how here was a friar in one house who no one could stand. He was annoying to be around, self-centered, and just problematic to live with. Finally, the brothers got together and requested the he be transferred to another house. In many ways, this part of the story is sadly not uncommon; sometimes, guys just don’t get along. No, what was striking about it was how that brother reacted. Shocked and hurt, he could only respond, “Why didn’t anyone ever tell me I was difficult to live with?”
So often, we are blind to our own weaknesses. Whether it’s because they’re difficult to spot or simply because we don’t want to see them, others are always better equipped to point out those areas within us that need the most growth. Without a community around us who is mature (and loving) enough to step in a correct us, to point out our blindspots when we can’t see them, we will go through life hurting and annoying others without a care in the world.
I’m not sure about you, but ignorance is not bliss.
For so many of us, it is not that “we don’t know what we don’t know,” it’s that “we don’t even know THAT we don’t know.” We are completely oblivious (or completely deny) that there is even anything in us that needs to change.
And so before we walk away thinking that this reflection is all about others and how we need to fix them, let me bring it back to our poor brother. He was most certainly blind to things that caused trouble for him in his community, and no one can outright fault him for not seeing what he could not see, but it is not entirely up to others to take responsibility for our behavior. Knowing, of course, that we ALL have blindspots—that we all have failings we cannot see, that we all have rough edges that do not reflect the kingdom of God—it is most certainly our responsibility to have the humility to accept this in ourselves and the courage to do something about it.
How we go about that seemingly impossible process… is the topic of this week’s video.
Wow, you are asking me to walk into the uncomfortable. That is good I assume, but I am not sure that I can do it alone. I know that Jesus will walk with me, but I also need some brothers and sisters to also walk with me. Is that bad?
Russell – I think it is not bad at all! We are all on this journey together. We need each other to help us along and of course, Jesus is right there beside us.
I believe if we pray that the Father would help us to discern what our blind spots are He will allow events to happen that would bring them to surface, so that He would do the same for us to change them. We just have to listen to our hearts. It is all about discernment which is strengthened through worship of Him. I love your posts! I’ll keep you in my prayers.
Brother Casey – how the Holy Spirit is working through you! I love your posts…but this is one of my favorites!
Thank you and I pray that you may continue to have an open heart and mind that God may continue to work through you! YBIC
Does the reverse every not happen: a majority oblivious to the fact that it has misjudged an individual whom they dismiss falsely (with sincerity or through lack of courage) as the problem? Mark 14:50: “And they all deserted him and ran away.”