Not Loving My Neighbor


In my parish, I am so critical of others. I try to be humble and see good things about them and think how they are so much better than me in many ways. Then I’ll walk out of church and see a grouchy face and it starts up again. I look around and see mostly sad, complacent people who talk before and during mass and show little or no reverence. I even saw a guy put his hand on his girl’s rear end in church when mass was over. :eek: People I have tried to befriend talk about sickness and death and I’m so tired of it. I know it’s part of life, but come on, not all the time.:frowning: I get the impression that the real spirituality is reserved for priests and nuns and those who go above and beyond the norm. It gets lonely. I confess my fault time and again. (being uncharitable) It’s gone down a bit but continues with each dufus who rears up during mass. I don’t know how to be completely tolerant unless I become a saint, and I’m light years away from that.:shrug: Suggestions welcome.:o


In the Immitation of Christ, it says something to the effect;

Be patient in what you have to put up with others, for you are mostly unaware of what other people have to put up with from

Above all consider that the perfection of Jesus Christ, is His putting up with our imperfections.



Now I’m wondering more about this and if I’m being uncharitable at all. I don’t do anything to bother people. All they’ve had to put up with from me is a smile. Perhaps that bothers them because sometimes they don’t smile back.
I think there’s “righteous indignation”. A priest told me some saints got angry with people and also cited Jesus’ wrath with the merchants in the temple. Perhaps I really do love my neighbor. By that I mean if someone who annoyed me slipped and fell, I’d help them and be concerned for their well-being but still not like the person. :wink:
Maybe what I need is a theological definition of loving one’s neighbor. Maybe it means simply not hating them.:shrug:


On this journey there are those that are in front of us; there are those that are behind us; and there are a few that are alongside of us.

From those in front of us, learn; for those that are behind us, lead; and with those alongside us, enjoy.

It is a lonely road, as only you are responsible for your souls next residence after this human journey.

This may not help with your situation, but it may help understand it.


It helps to understand things as they now stand. :thumbsup: I shouldn’t be looking to other people for inspiration.


maybe the old standard advice would be of help here, to try and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Maybe the guy with the grouchy face is in pain with arthritis or cancer therapy, maybe the lady who does not answer when you greet her is wrapped up in worry about her daughter in a high risk pregnancy, maybe the family that can’t seem to control their rowdy kids has just buried their grandmother, maybe the priest whose words were less than inspiring is facing his own crisis of faith. Maybe also we see what we want to see–I know that has been true for me, when I expect to be ignored or insulted it often happens, but when I look for kindness and good will, that is what I perceive.

In the long run, growing old helps, because you can’t see or hear other people well enough to take offense, or supply ulterior motives where none exist.


Great post! Thank you for sharing this especially:

From those in front of us, learn;
for those that are behind us, lead;
and with those alongside us, enjoy.


Most often struggling against that fault and failing or those faults and failings that one just does not seem to be able to overcome can be the very best of opportunities to learn humility - the most beautiful of virtues that is the foundation of them all - and that perfection at any level of any kind remains a gift - not a right.



I’m standing on the same train of thought with you on this, puzzleannie.


Thank you so much! I need this right about now. God Bless you all this Holy Advent Season!
Jacob :signofcross:



[quote=RosalieM] I confess my fault time and again. (being uncharitable) It’s gone down a bit but continues with each dufus who rears up during mass. I don’t know how to be completely tolerant unless I become a saint, and I’m light years away from that.

Me, too. I’m living with my parents and I keep on trying to follow the Little Flower’s lead, but not doing so well. Plus, the priest who hears confessions in this area pooh-poohs anything that isn’t a mortal sin, apparently. Oh, well, he’s wonderfully loving in many other areas.
At least, I’m doing better at listening to stories that I’ve heard lots of times before (without remarking). Thank you, Lord!


If there is a lack of priests in your area, perhaps let the priest know you want to confess faults and venial sins. Don’t let him stop you.:slight_smile: You gain in grace and are less likely to fall into serious sin. If I think a priest is going to pooh-pooh my confession because I didn’t commit any mortal sins, I tell him right away, “venial sins and faults”. What’s he gonna do? Kick me out of the confessional? I think not.:smiley: And it helps, every time. The comments in this thread have been of great help also. I could feel an improvement at this evening’s Mass among my fellow parishioners, feeling more like a family.:thumbsup:


Rosalie -Good topic !* :thumbsup:** Me, too !* In my case, I tend to see everyone else’s faults - and not enough of the good in them…Wish I knew how to correct myself instead.:frowning: I’m guessing your post has sewn a seed.* I know I will pray now asking a little less for ME, ME, ME (which I’m too good at) - and perhaps, asking God to help me see more of the best in others.Many thanks for a good topic - particularly as we end the year and plan our resolutions for the new year ahead.


This is really great advice. And so true. I think I’ll have this one printed on my forearm… then, when I start to be critical of others… I can read how often (and I do mean OFTEN :wink: ) Our Good Lord tolerates all of my imperfections… yet, still loves me.

Maybe it’ll help me to be less critical of others.

Great thread, thanks for starting it. :slight_smile:


I have quoted this address by Mother Abbess of Jamberoo Abbey before, but it is worth, I think, repeating:
By Mother Abbess … it is written for monastics, but it has universal application in its central concept.
JULY 2002

One of the most challenging calls in the Rule of St Benedict, but also one of the most inspiring, one which is permeated with the true depths of the gospel spirit is surely that verse addressed to the abbess but, also very strongly addressed to each one of us:
She must so arrange all things that the strong have something to strive after, but the weak have nothing to be discouraged by, or run away from.

[quote]We are all weak; We are all strong. It depends upon what aspect of the life we are considering! I will give only one illustration of my meaning and you can then apply it across the whole spectrum of the life.

One sister, let’s say, is amazingly generous and self-giving; she can always be asked to help and she will respond with joy. She is very strong in generosity. However, the same sister, despite her genuine efforts not to is always disturbing the silence and the silent prayerful spirit of others; she bustles around, gets carried away with what she is doing; her deportment is often busy, loud and agitated. Her voice is loud and she says anything which comes into her head in any place whatsoever. She is therefore very weak in monastic silence but she is genuinely trying though we may not see her efforts.
We are all weak. We are all strong. It depends upon which aspect of the life we are considering. The trap which, in pride, we often fall into, is in refusing to acknowledge my weakness. There are many forms of this:
*]We excuse it.
*]We deny it.
*]We try to justify our behaviour and explain it away.
*]We claim that we have good reason to behave in this way.
*]We try to cover it up.
*]We say that everyone else does this too.
*]We tru to make it appear right.
*]We try to persuade others to do it also.[/LIST]All of this is very dangerous for a community because imperceptibly and gradually, the life is undermined and if not checked, is destroyed. It is a strong expression of love, real love, strong love for God and for the community to acknowledge openly our weaknesses as weaknesses and to struggle daily to overcome them.

This is an essential aspect of humility. So let us all openly acknowledge our failures as failures and weaknesses and even our sins in our day to day relating with one another and be ready to say you are sorry and to forgive others.
And let us always keep in mind that we are all sinners as Jesus said:
Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn expressed this in thought and provoking words:

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to spearate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?



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