What Would You Do?
I found myself trying to speak rationally to someone the other day that was being irrational. Why do we try to do that? It never gets us anywhere and you’d think I’d know that by now.
It really only causes frustration. It doesn’t usually end with any worthwhile resolution.
I have found there are times when walking away is really the only way to stay civil if, after a sound attempt, you are moving toward the point of no return.
In my recent exchange, I found myself asking the person, “Why are you mad at me? Why are you talking to me like that?” which quickly spiraled into, “Why do you have such a bad attitude?”
As you might have guessed, that really didn’t work out so well, so, taking my mother’s advice, I turned her wheelchair around and together we left.
Now the only reason I bring this up is because it is important for us to have the wherewithal to recognize when we are on the edge of sinning. When we think in those terms, it helps us stop from going down a path that is uncharitable.
For me, recognizing that whatever I am tempted to say or do will require me to go to confession later helps me to stop. If I can catch myself at that point, I can save myself and others some grief.
Part of the problem is that the older I get, the less willing I am to suffer fools and the more direct I am when confronted with a problem. This is how I would prefer people talk to me. Don’t let your thoughts dance around in your head—just tell me what you are honestly thinking.
You see, sinning incidentally, without really knowing you are sinning is one thing, but if we think about what we are doing, and we know it is sinful, and we go and do it anyway, well, that’s something else altogether.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (Paragraph 1860), it is the gravest sin if we commit it “through malice”, or if we make a “deliberate choice of evil.”
So looking back on the heated exchange I described earlier, I would have liked to have been a better listener because the person with whom I was having the “conversation” was clearly wounded and angry and I literally allowed myself to be drawn into it.
I wish I would have paid more attention to their pain and been less worried about how offended I was. That really would have been more fruitful.
The humble attitude would have been to see where I had caused offense and acknowledged it.
When people are being irrational, you may not be able to move them to being rational, but if you are able to just be quiet and let them speak, sometimes that will allow your voice to actually be heard.
Of course that takes great personal discipline, something I obviously need to work on!
Please pray for me.
I welcome your comments.