Seeing God in one another

Seeing God in One Another
by Fred Schaeffer, OFS


It is very sad when people cannot forgive each other. I remember a young man who couldn't get along with his wife anymore. The marriage was fraught with difficulties from the start. They shouldn't have gotten married in the first place. Every time I visited my friend I heard the same sad tale...she did this, and she did that, and she doesn't want to cook anymore, and she isn't keeping the place clean anymore, etc. It became tiresome to listen to him. At some point I asked, "But what are you doing for her? Have you taken her out to dinner recently? Have you told her you love her?" Well, none of the above (He wouldn't admit that right away, it took more "pulling teeth" to get this revelation from his lips). After much talking the real truth came out. He had found a new friend and just didn't come home in the evenings. No wonder his wife wasn't motivated anymore.


What happens very often is that we start judging and blaming others, before cleaning up our own act. And, if this goes on long enough, the verbal sparring turns into hate. When you hate someone, you cannot love God. When God is no longer a part of your life, everything begins to fall apart. It may take time, but the handwriting is on the wall - when you no longer love your spouse and you begin to invent excuses when you know darn well you've been remiss, your life will fall apart, usually beginning with your relationship with Jesus.


Many a marriage has fallen apart in its first year. Engagements are short, marriages are hasty (at best).... because love is like that. It is often foolish. Young people who get married haven't learned yet how to compromise - particularly because in business there often is no compromise. When they get into their first spat, he won't give in to her, and she won't back down (or vice-versa) and the fat is in the fire. And over what? Over a little mishap. How charitable it would have been for one mate to say to the other... oh well, let's not argue over such a little thing. If it makes you happier, let's just do it. Or, do it your way! I'm not saying you have to be a 'doormat' - but if the argument can be defused or avoided and your marriage is at stake, don't fight to the death over an insignificant point. There are seldom any winners and losers like that. Look for God in one another. He's there! But when He is forgotten, when we take matters into our own hands, then watch out.


It is not easy to forgive, but WE MUST FORGIVE. Why? Well, remember that Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself..." - in this context your spouse is one of the neighbors too.... Marriage is not an institution where you do good for everyone except for your wife! And God help those who look upon their spouses as personal slaves and act accordingly...those marriages don't last too long, either. If they do happen to stick together, such a partnership can be a very sad one.


The same is true for people who are not married. I was in a situation once where another person always managed to interrupt a meeting I led. She did that by constantly talking either to herself or to everyone else. I finally had enough and told her to move on. Join some other organization, perhaps. I did this none too kindly, and this situation was festering for a while. I could not get my abruptness out of my mind and subconsciously I began to blame her for my feelings. After a week or two I came to my senses and asked God to forgive me for my lack of charity. I was happy again. See, it doesn't take much to get off track. When we forgive those who irk us and when we then also forgive ourselves, life will go from the extreme back into balance, and you'll become more aware of God's presence in your soul, now and forever.


Written September 16, 2002, slightly revised August 11, 2005





A Gift of a New Life
A Biography
by Fred Schaeffer, OFS 2019

Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

Divine Mercy Fraternity

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