"So you must obey them (the teachers of the law and the Pharisees) and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach" (Matt 23: 3).
When I was 9-years-old, my Sunday school teacher taught me a way to reflect about my actions. Another name for this is an examination of conscience. Maybe you were taught this, too.
"Close your eyes and pretend that you can watch a television show about your day," my teacher encouraged. "You are the star. Notice the people around you as you move through your routines."
"Look for the opportunities that you chose, the ones that met your needs, and the ones that included others. What did you notice? How did your choices affect those around you? How do you feel?"
Taking time to review the day helps me feel more thankful and prepare for whatever comes.
I have discovered patterns in my behavior. If I slow down, think about what God would want, and how it would affect people, I usually feel peaceful.
However, if I rush to snatch what I want or try to speak the last word, I feel horrible. I feel sad and regretful.
The teacher continued, "And, if someone wrote a sermon/homily based upon your day, how would it sound? In other words, if someone had to describe exactly the way that you lived, what would they preach?"
Wow, what would that look like?
The truth is that each day, we are a living sermon. Our lives are a witness to our faith in Christ. Like it or not, people are watching.
Some folks watch because they really want to have a closer relationship with Jesus.
However, some people watch because they know that faith in God can be hard. Some people seem as though they lie in waiting for us to fall. They grab the chance to point out all of our sins.
Maybe it makes them feel safe.
Regardless, people can tell what we truly believe by our actions.
Do we praise God? Do we live a joy-filled, hope-filled life? Do we think about others? Do we take care of our families? Our friends? Ourselves? When we fall down in failure, do we stand again? Do we continue to believe in God even when things do not go well? Do we quit when we fall? When we offend others, do we acknowledge our guilt and ask for forgiveness?
Dear God, we thank you for your Holy word. Please lead us in your way, your truth and Your life. Help us live according to your will. When we fall, please lift us up. When we doubt, keep us faithful. Continue to let us know that your loving spirit is always with us. Amen.
Lisa Hetzel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.