“Do not enter into judgment.” (143:2)
The temptation to judge other people according to our standards and expectations is high. Despite protestations to the contrary, a religious life invites making such judgements because we have the yardstick of sacred scripture as both a measuring device and a stick with which to beat transgressors. Resist the temptation, unless there is a strong potential that you or someone else will otherwise be hurt. Instead, walk a mile in their shoes and try to understand why they do what they do. Cultivate compassion, rather than judgement.
“No one cares about me.” (142:5)
In the course of a busy life, there are times when we might feel invisible, as if others are passing us by as if we don’t exist. It may not be malicious, just our busy family and coworkers engaged in their day, but nonetheless the feeling of being ignored hurts. As we go through our day, might we make it a point to notice and acknowledge the people we pass by? Perhaps make a point to smile, exchange a greeting, or ask a question that shows that we recognize and care about them. Show that you care.
“Give ear to my voice when I call to you.” (141:1)
Of all the skills that nurture a relationship, the skill of knowing when and how to listen is at or near the top. Listening is caring. A person who listens superficially for the opening to turn the conversation back to himself and his needs and interests is hearing, but not listening. To listen is to know that the response to a question is not necessarily an answer, but an affirmation that it is a serious question. A listening ear takes in and relieves pain, simply by being receptive to the deepest expressions of the other.
“[A] treasured possession.” (135:4)
The Biblical foundational story of human origins asserts that human beings are designed to partner, rather than spend their life alone. To unite in partnership with another human being is to know that one is treasured by another human being. To partner is to commit oneself to love another as oneself. Every person wants to be treasured at times, to be placed on a pedestal and treated like a king or queen. Everyone has moments in their life when they want and need to nurture and be nurtured, to comfort and be comforted.
“Yours is the power to forgive.” (130:4)
You control one of the greatest superpowers, the power to forgive. Be not stingy nor overly generous with forgiveness. Forgiving too quickly missed the opportunity help the other person appreciate how hurtful his or her actions were, and learn how to repair the damage. Withholding forgiveness is more damaging to you than the other person, because it keeps your hurt alive while the other person has moved on. You have the superpower of forgiveness. When used wisely, you can profoundly change both your life and the other’s.