Grace to you!
Success attracts friends. It, sure, wins enemies too. People who are starting to make progress in life face numerous challenges. Many may misjudge their guts and determinations. Sometimes, they would deal with the fear—real or imagined—of being misunderstood too. But it is in living above this emotion that anyone who wants to succeed can make substantial headway.
I remember the story of Saint Gerald Majella. He was an 18th-century religious brother of the Congregation of the Redeemer (Redemptorist). At a time in his life, many people completely misunderstood and misrepresented him. Those in charge stopped him from serving at Mass. They also barred him from receiving Holy Communion. However, after some years, it was discovered that the reasons why he was banned were utterly false and fabricated. For him, though, amidst the challenges, he continued making progress. He never was afraid of the fear of being misunderstood. He never stooped himself.
How many people you know may have been victims of misjudgment? How many saints and great people in history were utterly misjudged and condemned when they were innocent. It is a common phenomenon. It happens in the workplace and also at home. It’s an unfortunate flaw in human ways of doing things.
A word for people who intentionally demonize others to tarnish their reputation. What do you gain at the pains of that person? No one makes enduring progress on the debris of another person. Remember the saying, "what goes around comes around."
For you who have been misunderstood and vilified, you are not alone. Many misunderstood and misrepresented the Lord Jesus Christ too. For instance, in the Gospel of Mark 3:20-21, his friends who saw him carry out the work of his Father, God the Father, misjudged him because he was doing what they didn't understand. It didn't make sense to them at all. They said, "He is beside himself" (v. 21).
The Lord was misjudged by his friends, those who hung out with him. If the Lord's friends judged him falsely, how about those who were not close to him at all? Their assessment could even be worse. It was. However, their misjudgment didn't stop the Lord from doing good.
Know this. No one is exempt from being misunderstood. Therefore, do not allow people's judgment of you to distract you from doing God's will. Please don't let them stop you, because misunderstanding will never end. It is part and parcel of human life on earth.
Let me end by sharing a piece of advice given to me by a retired Bishop of my home diocese, Most Reverend Gregory Ochiagha, who ordained me a priest. He is a bishop whose wisdom is outstanding. I was barely three years a priest at the time. He told me that, in life, people stop themselves from achieving their goals. He emphasized that for anyone to succeed, they shouldn't stop themselves from the way of success and faithfulness. They shouldn't allow people to get in their head and alter their path to progress. "Nobody can stop you. Only you can stop you.”
So, if you are doing what you are convinced is right, keep doing it. If your good conscience, rooted in the Word of God, affirms you, please do not allow criticisms to stop you. Misunderstandings will come and go. Your life goes on. Do not stop yourself. Leave above the fear of being misunderstood and judged. Please do not allow people to hold you back. Press on.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.