Across the Pastor’s Desk: Strength to become good Christians

Published 8:30 pm Friday, June 25, 2021

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Across the Pastor’s Desk by Henry Doyle

“Life is fragile and short and worth all the loving presence we can bring to it.” — Rebecca Kushins

Henry Doyle

Upon my arrival at an open house for a high school graduate, I saw someone I had not wanted to see. Until his divorce, I had been on good terms with this individual. I had considered him and his first wife as friends. They had children, who had become my students. I knew the maternal grandparents, who were also my friends. The couple, their children and maternal grandparents received birthday cards from me.  We saw one another frequently. We treated one another quite kindly and lovingly. We enjoyed our interactions. The wife and mother worked with me; I saw and talked with her almost every workday. When the couple separated, I took her side without ever talking with him.  Since their divorce, I had seen him once or twice from a distance. Now we were in the same space, and I did not want to acknowledge his presence. I wanted to avoid having any communication with him. At one point, I walked by him and his second wife with my head turned away from them.  As I walked to my car, I said to myself silently, “Mission accomplished!”

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Five minutes later, I pulled up at the next open house. As I stepped out of the car, I said aloud, “Henry, you were a bad Christian! Shame on you!”  Until I returned home, my disregard/dismissal of another human being had kept me from fully enjoying the next two open houses. For several hours, I could not free myself of my mistreatment. I did not attempt to give any rationale for my misconduct. I had to do something; I had to take the first step: reaching out to S. Three possible ways presented themselves to me. I chose not the ideal one: email. Concisely and directly, I stated I had been rude and mean.  I asked him to pardon me. The next morning, I read his response and thanked God and him for their goodness to me. In the early morning hours (Though it was Sunday, he was awake at 5 a.m.), we exchanged emails. We had reconciled and were back on good terms. A few days later, he received birthday greetings from me. 

We Christians are to obey God and follow the way of life God has shown us through his son, Jesus. Simply put, we do what God says because it is meet and right so to do. As one of the we Christians, I pray God strengthens me to be a good Christian.

Spread love, not hatred!

The Rev. Henry L. Doyle is the priest-in-charge at Christ Episcopal Church in Albert Lea.