“They just don’t get it.” How many times have you heard someone describe a group with whom they disagree with this stinging yet ultimately unhelpful dismissal? (Perhaps you, like me, have uttered those words yourself?) Once “we” determine that “they” “don’t get it,” “we” can bask in our superiority and stop caring about “them.”
At first glance this seems to be what Jesus is saying about the crowds to whom he speaks in parables: “They look but do not see, and hear but do not listen or understand.” Somehow I think we need to give Jesus a little more credit. Surely he cares not only for the disciples but also for the crowds and believes they are capable of understanding and redemption.
The context of this passage is the Parable of the Sower and the Soils, immediately after Jesus tells the story and immediately before he explains its meaning. My sense is that Jesus is mainly telling the disciples that they are good soil and encouraging them to continue to follow him and learn more. “To anyone who has, more will be given. . . .”
Even so, the “they just don’t get it” attitude seems to me to be far too prevalent today. In politics, in the workplace, even in church, I believe we too easily demonize and dismiss people with whom we disagree. Would we not all be better served--and more Christ-like--if we sought humbly to truly look and see, hear and listen and understand?
I am reminded of an excerpt from the prayer written in the spirit of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
At least based on this prayer, I might add the following:
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