13th-century Persian poet Rumi writes, “Close both eyes to see with the other eye.” Bridging the gulf that lies between us and those that we see as inferior and/or different, and replacing it with mutuality and acceptance is difficult for all of us. Yet, not to do so merely reflects pride and arrogance. This is one of the worst legacies that you could ever leave your children. It is infected with the syrup of self-righteousness and superiority. It clearly does not reflect the love of Jesus. Yet if I am honest, I must admit most of us suffer from the temptation and often times succumb to it.
The problem is we need to be in each other’s “spheres of acceptance” all the time. There are so often lines drawn and barriers erected, meant to exclude. Whether it is a neighbor with unruly kids, a fellow employee with annoying habits, a boss who is severe, a child with tattoos and piercings or an adult who is loud and drinks too much, we are all on thin ice when it comes to judgment.
Allowing people into our spheres of acceptance requires that we dismantle the barriers we have set up to keep them out. Like gangs that have territories, we all have our place and group think.
The challenge lies in abandoning the territory or your “spheres of acceptance” and replacing it with a turf that is more ample, inclusive, and expansive that more closely reflects God’s view of things.
Greg Boyle in “Tattoos of the Heart” says, “Sometimes you’re thrown into each other’s jurisdiction (sphere of acceptance), and that feels better than living, as the Buddhists say, in the ‘illusion of separateness.’ It is in this place where we judge the other and feel the impossibility of anything getting bridged. The gulf too wide and the gap too distant, the walls grow higher, and we forget who we are meant to be to each other.”
My father told me that when his father came from Sicily there was a fair amount of prejudice against Italians, but it wasn’t limited to just Italians. Irish, African Americans, Japanese and Germans were equally shamed. Each of those nationalities needed to know, in this foreign country, that they still had pride so they fought each other. In time, most saw the sameness in each others misery and began working together, fighting in wars together and living together.
I remember a time when I was teaching high school years ago and a large student who was a star on the football and basketball team arrogantly told me where to go when I tried to direct him to his class. I was pretty put off and despised his attitude and self-righteousness. Later that year I was directing a play at the school and surprisingly he showed up for the audition (he was trying to win the heart of a girl who was trying out). I was not pleased but I wanted to give everyone a fair shot at each role. To my surprise, he was quite good because he was so authentic in the role, no pretense.
I wondered with all the brag Gio so that he gave off, how he could be so authentic in this audition as an actor. I had to cast him because he was clearly the best suited for that role. I was concerned whether he would show up or put in the work needed. To my surprise he was exceptional! While working with him I learned about his terrible home life and how lonely and needy he truly was. Once I got through the outer shell, I found a kid that I truly liked and wanted to help. He did a marvelous job with his role and I continued to counsel him and befriend him for the rest of his high school years.
WE SEEK TO CREATE LOVING COMMUNITIES OF KINSHIP PRECISELY TO COUNTERACT MOUNTING LOVELESSNESS, RACISM, AND THE CULTURAL DISPARAGEMENT THAT KEEPS US APART.
Father Greg Boyle writes, “Close both eyes; see with the other one. Then, we are no longer saddled with the burden of our persistent judgments, our ceaseless withholding, our constant exclusion. Our sphere has widened, and we find ourselves, quite unexpectedly, in a new, expansive location, in a place of endless acceptance and infinite love.”
We will then wander into God’s sphere of acceptance!
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This is a book about transforming your family legacy – both today and in generations to come. It is for Christian families who want to eliminate estate and capital gains taxes, maintain their current lifestyle, pass on an appropriate inheritance to their heirs, maximize giving to worthy ministries, create healthier family relationships and leave a lasting legacy to impact God’s kingdom.
By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.