I currently have a teenager and a toddler at home. Yes, a 16 year old and a 3 1/2 old. It is exciting times in my house. Any parent of a toddler knows that sometimes the best response to the “hilarious” antics of a “just old enough to be dangerous” little person is to completely ignore them. When I did this the last time I had preschoolers 8 years ago, it usually resulted in changed behavior and everyone just moving on.
This time, I have a teenager in the house. She is truly wonderful (honestly), and sometimes she questions my decisions and actions. Particularly she can’t begin to fathom why I would ignore the toddler’s inappropriate behavior. Shouldn’t I correct him? Shouldn’t I punish him? Shouldn’t I react in some way!? “If we don’t stop him, he’s never going to learn.”
Little does she know that by reacting we teach him that this particular word or behavior will earn him loads of attention, which, of course, is exactly what he wants. Ignoring the bad doesn’t always work out, but sometimes it is exactly what is called for.
In the gospel today Jesus learned of the very ill daughter of Jarius. When he heads to Jarius’ home to heal the girl they all hear, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” What does Jesus do next? He ignores them. He ignores the fact that the girl has died. It says that Jesus disregarded the message. Then Jesus goes onto explain that the girl is only asleep. He consequently heads into the house and heals her.
As Christians it would do us well to follow in Jesus’ way at times. We too must disregards messages of death and failure. It would serve us to ignore the voice of the enemy inviting us to sin. We will grow in holiness if only we neglect fleshy temptations and invitations to despair.
Whether it is our own minds, or the voice of another, we will look more and more like the saints if we too can disregard any message that doesn’t bring us closer to Jesus Christ. Learning to listen to the voice of God and ignore the whispers of the evil one is the life long work of the Christian.
Live It: Next time a doubt, a moment of despair, or a negative thought enters into your mind, STOP, brush your shoulder off as if you are swiping a little monster off your shoulder and pray, “Not today! Help Lord Jesus Help!”