Thursday, July 16, 2009

You Can't Please Everyone

IF YOU TRY TOO HARD to make everyone like you, eventually, there won't be any more of "you" left.

As a young man, St. John Chrysostom left the practice of law to focus on the acetic life.

Following the wishes of his mother - a widow - though,
[h]e remained at home, but turned his home into a monastery. He secluded himself from the world and practiced a rigid asceticism. He ate little and seldom, and only the plainest food, slept on the bare floor and frequently rose to prayer. He kept almost unbroken silence to prevent a relapse into the habit of slander.(1)
Some people found this annoying: "His former associates at the bar called him unsociable and morose."(2)

But others were inspired:
But two of his fellow-pupils under Libanius joined him in his ascetic life, Maximus (afterwards bishop of Seleucia), and Theodore of Mopsuestia. They studied the Scriptures under the direction of Diodorus (afterwards bishop of Tarsus), the founder of the Antiochian school of theology, of which Chrysostom and Theodore became the chief ornaments.(3)
Imagine if he had said to himself, "Gee, I'm really offending people with all this zeal. No need to 'overdo it.' I better cool off and 'act normal.'" If he did, the world would never have had St. John "the Golden Mouth."

I think the take-away here is that we should each follow Christ with all that is in us, with all that we are, without looking around for others' approval. St. Paul put it best: "[L]et us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."(4)

You can't please everyone. Learn it sooner rather than later.
(1)Schaff, Philip, Prologomena to the Works of St. John Chrysostom, CHAPTER III: His Conversion and Ascetic Life, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers (Vol. 9)
(4)Epistle to the Hebrews (12:1,2)

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