Thursday, May 03, 2012

Understand


I believe it was St. Augustine who first said the goal of godliness is not to seek to be understood but to seek to understand. That is a helpful admonition for today’s sermon. As husband and wife, we often get stuck trying to get our spouse to understand us.  But if we turn this around and first seek to understand them as our primary focus, then whether they understand us or not fades into the background.
         The reality is that seeking to understand is simply love. For some of us, this kind of love is more difficult. We may not be good at asking questions. We may not be as naturally curious. We may not have a strong desire to know. But as the Lord brings people into your life, it is important for you to get to know them, to seek to understand who they are and what makes them tick. You cannot do this without keen skills of observation and you cannot do this without asking some personal questions.
         We can all do a better job at this, that is sanctification. But there may be a need for repentance as well if your main goal has always been to get others to understand you. If you have been self-absorbed and self-centered in this way, repentance is in order as we ask God to change you and enable you to seek to understand others and so become a humble learner.

1 comment:

Rick said...

I think that quote was from the prayer of St. Francis: "O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be...understood, as to understand"

Of course I haven't read a ton of Augustine like you have, so Francis may have gotten the idea from Augustine originally.