Monday, March 7, 2011

A Healthy Dose of Henri

I've been receiving "Daily Meditations" from Henri Nouwen for about 6 years now. They arrive daily in my inbox and are still refreshing to me after all this time. They have cycled through a time or two over the years, but this is one of my all time favorites, mostly because it's both challenging and freeing. I remember the very first time I read this, in my little office at the American Heart Association while checking my email one morning. It has meant a lot to me and has helped to shape the way I see the world and the people in it.

"We spend an enormous amount of energy making up our minds about other people. Not a day goes by without somebody doing or saying something that evokes in us the need to form an opinion about him or her. We hear a lot, see a lot, and know a lot. The feeling that we have to sort it all out in our minds and make judgments about it can be quite oppressive.

The desert fathers said that judging others is a heavy burden, while being judged by others is a light one. Once we can let go of our need to judge others, we will experience an immense inner freedom. Once we are free from judging, we will be also free for mercy. Let's remember Jesus' words: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged" (Matthew 7:1). " - Henri Nouwen

Jack Handy puts it this way..."Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes."

Either way, the message is clear....

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