“Do not be angry with your neighbor for every injury”

In the morning readings for Independence Day, Ecclesiasticus says, among other very practical and wise things, “Do not be angry with your neighbor for every injury, and do not resort to acts of insolence.”

This is how we live together in community in peace. Almost by definition, to live in community is to endure injury. When we believe that every injury is a challenge to our own personal sovereignty, we are acting with undue pride, according to the author of Ecclesiasticus. The sin of pride, the writer says, “is to forsake the Lord; the heart is withdrawn from its Maker.” In some way, true “independence” is not derived from withdrawal, but rather from living in peace with our neighbors in spite of inevitable injury.

Insolent and uncivil acts are signs of withdrawing from God, withdrawing from our neighbors, of sin.

This evening when I review my day, I will ask myself if I am truly “independent,” in the very best sense, or am I withdrawing my heart from my Maker by showing undue pride and being angry for every injury.

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