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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

6 January 2021: Sylvia Roberts, St Peter's Church, Petersfield

Who makes you feel good?

A friend sent me a card recently for a special occasion. The quotation on the card was by Maya Angelou. It said

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.”

This certainly gave me pause for thought. I hoped that my friend had sent me that particular quotation for positive and not for negative reasons but, (as these things do) the words remained in my mind forcing me to reflect on myself and on how I treat others and react to them. I tried to see my treatment of others in the reflected light of other people’s treatment of me and of what behaviour leaves me feeling good.

I feel good if people remember my name and perhaps a little something about me. I feel good if, when we talk, people look at me and also truly listen. I feel good if a conversation is two-way and each of us is able to show a real interest in what the other has to say. I feel really happy if someone remembers what I said on some previous occasion, or perhaps asks my advice on something (even if they don’t follow it!) or writes or phones or emails unexpectedly. In a nutshell I feel good when I am made to feel valued for myself. So now I have to be honest with myself. Do I always follow these guidelines with everyone I meet?

We occasionally meet charismatic people whose effect on us is profound. We never forget – for good or ill – how they made us feel. Jesus was indubitably one of those people. He put his faith in ordinary working people and they became extraordinary. He spoke to women, foreigners, beggars and outcasts with equal respect. He challenged injustice, self-righteousness and entitlement. People who met Jesus never forgot how he made them feel. How fortunate we are to have such a role model we can read about every day. Let us pray for our world leaders that they may be enabled to follow that role model too.

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