How to Save a Soul

As people of faith, we can feel compelled to help people change – to save them, to convert them. The way we usual go about this is, we argue, try to convince, preach, coerce, nag, worry, etc.

But let me ask you something.

How’s that working out for you?

I think it my be time to try something new, you know, like LOVING them. Loving them because God loves them. Not because of their good behavior or something they did for you. Loving them unconditionally.

Just be a good friend.

What are the characteristics of a good friend? They can be found here:

1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

You see that it doesn’t say “love is patient when so and so takes my advice” or “love keeps no record of wrongs except when it doesn’t feel up to it” etc.

The Catholic Church has some excellent, concrete things we can do to be Jesus to others:

I want to zero in on “admonish sinners”, because that doesn’t sound very nice, does it? Well that is because part of being a good friend is willing the best for another and may sometimes involve uncomfortable confrontation.

Everyone is Fighting a Hard Battle

The recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have got me thinking.

We are all so quick to say “what a shame” and “they will be missed”, etc.

But what if we contributed to their demise?

Because something we are also quick to do is judge. I think most of us don’t realize it because somehow we think it is our duty to regulate others.

We comment on the way others are living their lives without having all the facts. We are judging them and contributing to their own feelings of shame, unworthiness and sense of failure at life.

So what can we do as a culture to remedy this? I think a lot of it comes from a sense of over responsibility. We think that we want to control others and give our thoughts and opinions about running their lives in order to help them. We really need to understand what our ACTUAL responsibility is.

  1. Self-control. All you can really control is what you will and will not do. People have free will and can do as they wish. It is your choice to be a part of it or not and it is your job to speak up if you are being wronged and do something about it. Everything else is on them. You can tell someone how their behavior affects you but it must be done in a loving, nonjudgmental manner.
  2. To love others. All people really need from you is empathy. Seldom do they want your two cents. Keep it to yourself and learn how to listen by saying “I hear you”, “tell me more” and “is there anything else?”. If they want your advice they will ask for it.

We all have our battles to fight and aspects of our life that are beyond our control that we are truly doing our best to cope with – be it mental illness, chronic illness, loss of a loved one, addiction, etc. Just show up, listen and speak kindness into others lives. You just might save one.