“It was St. Augustine’s argument that envy and hatred try to pierce our neighbor with a sword, when the blade cannot reach him unless it first passes through our own body.”- Thomas Merton
Why do we always have to be the one to understand, to forgive, to be kind, to love? Why must we be the one to be good? Isn’t it unfair that we’re only the ones trying to treat other people in the right way?
Using our natural human instincts, we feel a certain tendency to think of fairness in this way of thinking. We’re trying so hard to be good; therefore, others should also do their part. If they don’t do their part, isn’t it only fair that we don’t do ours?
But what happens then when we follow this line of thought? Are we indeed better off by inclining to evil just because others are doing the same?
It isn’t only to the other person’s benefit that we are being called to do what is right. It is first of all for our own sake. We try to understand others because it is by doing so that we are able to lift the burden of hurt we’re carrying within us. We try to forgive because only in doing so can we be truly healed. We try to be kind because it makes our own souls beautiful. We try to love because only in loving can we find the true meaning and happiness we’ve been searching for.
Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.” Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:19-21, WEB