Understanding others comes with recognizing the good intentions standing under their annoying behavior.

The first reading from Daniel is a reminder of what we should be doing in Lent. Namely, we should be honestly owning up to all the secret bits of evil we have been getting away with over the years. Then, after facing up to our unworthiness, we should turn to God for forgiveness, asking him for the will power to turn ourselves into profitable servants of God.

The Gospel draws our attention to one way we may have been grieving God. We may have been judging his children who are dear to him. By judging them we are offending him.

There is a clear way to avoid judging others. It is by becoming understanding people. Simply put: to be understanding is to see what “stands under” anyone’s behavior.

People always act for what seems good to them at the time. It’s like the law of gravity. That’s the way it is with you and me. We might later come to see that what seemed good at the time was really harmful. We wish people would see that about us. So, why can’t we see it is the same way with others? Pure meanness has never caused you or me to get ahead of others in the check out lane or in the left turn lane. Why should we impute an ugly motive to anyone else?

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