Rose Folsom discovered, with the help of a cute doggie, how to redeem a judgmental thought with a simple prayer.
Some days are just one judgmental thought after another. Which is embarrassing (I’m better than this!) and unnecessary. When my head gets into other people’s business and out of my own, PLOOMP! I sink.
A day without judging is, like walking on water, humanly impossible, because our brains are wired to assess threats all day every day. Looking out for danger is a great skill, but a good skill can go bad. For example, I saw this the other day:
Let’s just say I had some judgmental thoughts. But here’s how to turn that around.
The second I realized that I’m thinking how the stroller money could have been better spent or how we’re aborting our children but pampering our dogs, I reached out to God to redeem that moment. By praying the opposite prayer, I avoided sinking into judgment and continued to walk in God’s love.
The prayer went something like this: “Lord, let this dog be a reminder to everyone of Your beauty and unconditional love. Bless the owner abundantly. Give her the grace she needs to get closer to You and love You more.”
Another chance came up on Wednesday when a noisy person infested the Adoration chapel—ruffling pages, creaking the chair, and yawning with all the sound effects. As I started to sink into self-pity (Great—now I can’t concentrate!), the “opposite prayer” buoyed me back up. “Lord, thank you for your powerful love, which can penetrate my heart and transform it, no matter what else is going on. Even when I don’t feel loving, you are at work in my soul and in the soul of my sister who is so dear to you. I thank you with all my heart.”
Amazingly, a prayer like this instantly changes how we feel about the situation. We calm down because we’re now seeing things in their reality, through God’s eyes.
We can always ask God to inspire our redeeming prayer. With it, we will have saved that moment from being destructive to being life-giving. We will have participated with Christ in the redemption of the world. We will have helped “restore all things in Christ.”
About the Author
Rose Folsom is founder of VirtueConnection.com, where she helps Catholics get closer to God by discovering how to practice virtues like patience and forgiveness. Join her membership group, Virtue Circle. She’s a convert and Lay Dominican who speaks, blogs, and leads retreats fueled on prayer and York peppermint patties. She and her husband, Fred, live in Silver Spring, Maryland.