Minute Meditations

Living Big

kids walking down a path | Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

We live in a society that feels divided on many issues: politics, how to address societal problems, religious beliefs, and more. Many of us harbor grudges over past mistakes by leaders, pastors, bishops, other voters, and politicians. Compassion suggests that we put ourselves into others’ shoes and try to look at the world from their perspective. But living big moves us beyond this. It reflects a worldview wherein people I disagree with—or even those with whom I am angry—may just be doing the best they can. 

This perspective is even deeper than an attitude of forgiveness, because forgiveness implies that the other has done something wrong. Living big is giving the other the benefit of the doubt and assuming that there may be circumstances of which I am unaware underlying the other person’s behavior. Living big is about showing the other person love no matter what.

—from “Living Big and Taking Compassion a Step Further
by Pauline J. Albert, PhD

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4 thoughts on “Living Big”

  1. Arlene B. Muller

    What is clearly wrong can never be right.
    However, the degree of culpability for a wrong behavior is subject to what is in the person’s heart and motives & the circumstances of the person’s life.
    Therefore, we can & should judge BEHAVIOR as objectively right or wrong & extend forgiveness. But ONLY GOD CAN TRULY JUDGE THE PERSON.
    Therefore, we need to temper justice with mercy & compassion.

    1. That’s true. Example, an intentional killing. Apply all you said to that. I think the point the other is reaching for is in the example of a MAGA supporter. Or a Bernie Sanders supporter. People deeply disagree, but we are judging them to an extent that disagreement becomes a delegitimizing and dehumanizing — even de -Christianizing — position. Living big means a kind of charitable come down, not a spiritual noblise oblige (that’s for God), but humility in our dispositions towards those we contest. I am going to believe in what I believe. It is my identity, even. Yours is other. But my self love is not other hate. That’s living big.

  2. Yes what is clearly wrong is never right. For eg incestuous behaviour. We aren’t animals. But the call to put ourselves in others’ shoes, ie circumstances, environment, exposure, ill influence, inherent sinful nature we all can relate. Really? Those of us who didn’t grow up by ourselves, cared for, provided for consistently physically, emotionally and
    educated. And a percentage of those who are just ‘good by nature’ defy the ill influence of the neglected and harmful home environment.
    Point is He came for the sinful ones and died for everyone. Especially the sinful ones, not just the well brought up and adjusted and successful ones. Not just those who ‘behave’ ‘correctly’.
    Re-think Compassion again.

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