Saturday, January 11, 2014

Social Resolutions to Rid You of Fear

Fear is the root of all of our problems. Addiction? Fear of reality. Sexual promiscuity? Fear of real love and commitment, or fear of loneliness. Anger? Fear of being wrong, looking stupid, losing control. The situations vary, but the fear is real.  

Father Wade Menezes, in his EWTN Mass homily  on January 9, 2014, gave us 10 excellent social resolutions to rid of us fear and bring us to love, and they are all based on scripture. Remember, the opposite of love is fear, so these are all about increasing the love in your life.  

1. Listen without interruption  

Proverbs 18:13  Whoever answers before listening, theirs is folly and shame.

You know that person you can't stand? God may have chosen him or her as the vehicle to speak to you. God speaks to us all the time through others, but if we're not listening, we're not going to get the message. 

2. Speak without accusing 

John 1:19 Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,

You don't know what someone's thinking, and half the time we don't understand what they mean. We're too interested in what we have to say in response. Listen. Absorb. Then respond with love. Think how many arguments and misunderstandings we could avoid. 

3. Give without withholding. 

Proverbs 21:26  Some are consumed with avarice all the day, but the just give unsparingly.

It all belongs to God. You owe him the first fruits, or the first ten percent, as a sign of gratitude and respect, and when you give to the poor, you are giving to Him. There are many, many examples in the Bible that demonstrate how God wants us to give. In fact, He told us that when we give to the poor, who can't pay us back, He will be in our debt. It's really important!

4. Pray without ceasing 

Colassians 1:9 Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding

Father Mendenzes talks about making every action and thought of our day a prayer, that we should be faithful to our daily duty. Work can be a prayer. Mundane tasks can be a prayer. So can suffering. Do your best and offer it all to God. 

5. Answer without argument  

Proverbs 17:1  Better a dry crust with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.

Look at the internet comments. Feel your anxiety grow. Everyone from celebrities to the anonymous try to make their mark with snide comments, criticisms and argument. That's not debate or discussion. It's ugly. Don't be a part of it. Don't feed the monster, and then watch it shrivel away.

6. Share without lying  

Ephesians 4:15  Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ,

Exaggeration and "white lies"(which are still lies). Why do we do them? To make ourselves look better. To make people like us. To support an agenda that would be too abhorrent to consider if truth were told. (Think abortion.)  When you stick to the truth, you show respect for everyone involved, including yourself.

7. Enjoy without complaint 

Philippians 2:14  Do everything without grumbling or questioning.

This doesn't mean accept everything as fact. It means when put on your grownup pants and be pleasant, even if you don't like what you have to do or consider the task "beneath you."  Even if you don't like the person who asked you to do it.

8. Trust without wavering 

1st Corinthians 13:7  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things

We can only hand everything to God if we trust in Him completely. He has a plan. Don't get in His way.

9. Forgive without punishment 

Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.

Jesus died for us. He accepted our punishment, because we couldn't have borne it. He forgives our sins, even the most grievous ones, if we sincerely repent and promise to sin no more. If He can forgive us, we owe it to others to do the same. And this doesn't mean there aren't consequences to our actions. You might get grounded for breaking curfew. It means don't forgive your spouse and then remind him of his sin every chance you get. 

10. Promise without forgetting  

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a wish fulfilled is a tree of life.

It feels good to make a promise. We look good for the moment. If we don't keep those promises, our word means nothing. It takes a long time to build that trust back up, so don't lose it in the first place. 

This list seems like common sense, but it's hard to execute. Really hard. No one said being Christian was easy. Father Menezes is a Father of Mercy. Check out their site. Better still, order one of their CDs.  The proceeds support the seminarians.

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