One of the Works of Mercy that can be the hardest to live, but is absolutely necessary for all of us is to “Bear Wrongs Patiently.” There are many times in our lives in which people mistreat us, or speak to us in ways that might hurt our feelings. And so often … we just blow up! We respond by treating them just as badly as they have treated us!
Why are we taught that we are to bear wrongs patiently? Ultimately, because we are to follow the example of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who endured the greatest wrongs: His Passion (Mocking, Scourging, Crowning with thorns, Wrongful condemnation, Carrying the Cross, and Crucifixion) and Death upon the Cross. Jesus told us that we are to “turn the other cheek,” and if someone forces us to go with them one mile, we are to go the second mile as well. Why would Jesus command us to be patient when we are treated wrongly? Well: we have treated God pretty badly (we as individuals, and humans in general and as societies), and God, in His Merciful Love, treats us much better than we deserve: The Father sent His Only Begotten Son to suffer and die a most horrendous death for our salvation! Where we deserve everlasting punishment in hell, God gives us Eternal and Blessed Life in Heaven instead! So to “bear wrongs patiently” is to return to our fellow human beings a tiny glimpse of the beautiful and loving way in which God treats us!
How can we bear wrongs patiently:
- Say a sincere prayer for the one who has offended you.
- Remember that you have treated Jesus much worse than this person has treated you.
- Offer the suffering or humiliation that you have received for some spiritual purpose (thereby uniting it to the Cross of the Lord Jesus). Maybe offer it for the Conversion of Sinners (including the person who hurt you), or for the Relief of the Poor Souls in Purgatory, or for the Conversion of your country, or for the End of Abortion, or for some other spiritual purpose that is dear to your heart.
- Ask the Lord Jesus to purify you of the self-love that makes you want to react in anger to that person.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to remember how you feel when you are mistreated, and to be aware of that feeling when you are tempted to mistreat another person.
By Bearing Wrongs Patiently, we grow more into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. We reflect His Love, Patience and Mercy better to those around us, and by doing so, we will be witnesses to the Power of His Love in the world!