I’ve fallen and I can get up — won’t you join me?

Allow me to preface this column by saying there are so many wonderful, pious, sincere individuals in a plethora of ministries in this diocese, in other churches, races, ethnicities and countries on this great, old big blue marble, and they are not a part of this column.

With that being said, I’ll begin. Last week I went into the office of my Anchor colleague Ken Souza to ask a question. On his desk he has a small crucifix, and all-thumbs me knocked it to the floor. As I picked it up I said to him, “And Jesus falls for the fourth time.” We had a good chuckle at that.

The anecdote led me to think of how many times in my life I have fallen — not physically, but Spiritually. I cannot even begin to calculate that amount. But I remember often the wise words of a priest friend of mine who once told me, “God doesn’t count the amount of times that you fall down, He counts the times you get back up.” That has brought me great comfort through the years.

It also serves to remind me that God is the ultimate Judge of all of us. I’m not quite sure that everyone realizes that. In the coming weeks and months, confirmation hearings will be held to determine if nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh will become a member of the U.S. Supreme Court.

I really don’t know why — why we need a Supreme Court. That’s because this country is filled with judges. They’re everywhere — in the media, in politics, regular citizens; those on the right, those on the left, those in the middle.

If others don’t think like we do, act like we do, and look like we do, we have come to believe that we have carte blanche to pass judgment on them. For instance, I have long hair and a beard, and I know this is an affront to some people. They won’t say it to my face, but they’ll mention it to others. Does long hair make me a bad person? It’s never dirty, it’s always groomed. And dare I say, most renditions of Christ show Him with a healthy mane. I am who I am, and my hair is not part of that equation. As I previously mentioned, I have often fallen Spiritually, but thankfully, God looks past my appearance, instead touching my heart and soul. That gives me the courage to get back up again.

I mention this only as a small illustration of the venom that is pouring forth from so many people in this country — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity and the like. What is lacking in the judgment of others is looking past the differences and into the heart and soul of the person or people we consider different, i.e. evil.

More and more, God is losing His job as the ultimate Judge. And that’s too bad. I think He’ll do a great job if we only let Him.

Our job in the great scheme of things is to pray for those whom we consider have gone astray. Our job is to show them respect and love. Our job is to try and see things from their point of view — or as the old adage says, “Walk a mile in their shoes.” Our job is to keep our judgments to ourselves. Our job is to give God His job back.

I was talking to my kids the other day and I told them I haven’t seen this much hatred in this country since the 60s. Frankly, it scares me. The hatred and emotional and physical abuse of those who are “different” is past epic proportions. And it’s not reserved for any one group of people.

Having spent much time on the ground after one of my countless tumbles, I see countless others in the same position. Some of those on the ground will never get back up because they cannot forgive others their trespasses as the Good Lord has forgiven them.

My prayer is that we give our Dad His job back and start living as the brothers and sisters we all are — then we can truly say, “We’ve fallen and we can get up.”


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