I prefer to stand on neutral ground.

Maybe that makes me naive.

Maybe I give people chances who probably don’t deserve them.

But past transgressions don’t phase me much.

Probably because Lord knows I have my own.

Probably because I’m Catholic and being Catholic means a guilty conscious will always weigh heavy on my soul.

But still, sometimes, I find myself falling into the habit of forming visions in my head of the way I expect others to be.

It’s that ever-lasting, big fat ego of mine that is to blame.

It’s that ever-lasting, big fat ego which says, “At least YOU aren’t THAT bad.”

And for a second, it makes me feel good. Even at the expense of someone else’s pain.

I have learned, though, time and time again, that the second I stand on someone’s chest who is having a hard time breathing—even if it is due in large part to their own shortcomings—using them as a stepping stool to stand a little bit higher,

God ALWAYS finds a way to knock me back down just enough times over and over to say, “You’re not better than them, but you are better than this.”

I think that’s a lesson I will always be learning.

Thankfully, though, there are less and less times the older I get that I find myself dusting off my britches.

“Stand on neutral ground,” God says.

“Because if you don’t,” he says, “no one will be able to see you eye-to-eye, and when that happens, no one will be able to see Me reflected there.

IT IS SUNDAY IN THE HEART OF THE BIBLE BELT.

“Have a blessed day,” we will all say from our pews.

But will that be the intention in our hearts?

Jesus wasn’t crucified on the cross so that we should spend our days crucifying others. [Put that on repeat.]