International Day for Tolerance Novena: Day 7 | Sympathy & Gentleness
If you were to think of a single word to describe this election cycle, that word probably would not be “gentle.” In fact, it would probably be something a lot closer to its opposite. But elections and difference of opinion do not inherently lack gentleness. It is in our approach to conflict that we find a place for gentleness to rest.
This might not have been our approach during the election. Maybe we spoke harshly to friends or coworkers who were just not understanding our point. Maybe we took pleasure in the misfortune of our opponents. Maybe we attacked others to further our own opinion. In an election with so much at stake, this is not uncommon.
Today, we repent of our lack of gentleness during the election in whatever form it may have taken in our lives. Going forward, as we accept the results, we will do our best to feel sympathy for people who think differently than we do. By sympathizing with them, we can begin to acknowledge their humanity and lovingly work together.
We ask God to grant us the fruit of the Spirit, gentleness, in order to view both our friends and opponents with compassion and sympathy. Together with Bishop Reed, we pray:
One of the most prominent problems during the election season was a lack of gentleness toward those with whom we disagreed. We ask forgiveness for the hardness of heart we fostered against people we decided were enemies. Let us bear the Spiritual Fruit of gentleness now, so that people of different perspectives can feel true sympathy for where they are coming from.