To the cheater, it means ignoring the office “hottie.”
To the liar, it means telling the truth,
even if the price to be paid is the loss of one’s “image.”
To the unforgiving, it means making a list and using it
to check and see if the mere mention of someone’s name
makes you start crying, reliving the incident, yet again.
To the gambler, it may mean walking away from
carousel-like entertainment, festive, blinking lights,
leaving incessant machines ringing.
To the idle-minded, it may mean giving God
both one’s thoughts and one’s prayer-life,
distancing one’s self from reality shows.
To the glutton, it may mean writing a new
shopping list, eating foods foreign to the palate
but good for the body, only one pass at the buffet.
To the gossip, it will mean letting the juicy news
about someone else’s failure die in the throat.
To the mocker and scorner, it will mean
resisting the urge to deride another by virtue
of a sharp mind, sharp tongue and quick wit.
Ahhhh… To bridle one’s tongue. It is like taming
a rushing river, or caging a dangerously wild animal.
To the ill-tempered, it will mean letting insults
roll off the back as though one were a duck.
To the addict, it will mean refraining from habits,
which have been formed to relieve pain and stress,
learning to resist the bottle of alcohol, pills,
and Alice-In-Wonderland psychedelics,
available by one quick phone call,
and “losing” the supplier’s number.
To the selfish, it will mean denying yourself
that expensive, new jacket and, instead, giving
warm blankets to the homeless. It will require
a Christ-like focus on the needs of others.
Mortification of the flesh is one of the most
difficult things that Jesus will ask of us,
but He will ask.
And, therefore, to the self-righteous it will mean
understanding that “all of our righteousness
is as filthy rags.” We are imperfect, still.
*First published in Windows Towards The World