I don't normally cross post articles but I found this one authored by Dr. Mark Sills of FaithAction to be so worthwhile...
As you no doubt know by now, I really enjoy stories that point to the intersection of the various faiths of the world. There is so much we could learn from one another if we just stopped to listen.
One of the really wonderful examples is a story about Jesus told by the Islamic sage, Attar of Nishapur. Attar lived in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. His poetry and narratives have had a great and lasting influence on the art and wisdom of Persian religious life. Attar wrote:
"One day some people were reviling Jesus as he walked through their village. Instead of answering their insults with curses, Jesus blessed them and prayed for them. Someone said to Jesus, 'You blessed these men, did you not feel anger toward them?' And Jesus answered, 'I could only spend of what I had in my purse.'"
So often, when confronted with hostility, my first reaction is to become angry and hostile in return. I just find it difficult to understand how so many otherwise decent and intelligent people can hold such racist and xenophobic and homophobic and sexist attitudes! And when I see people rejecting those I am honored and blessed to serve every day, my first reaction is to reject them. And, of course, that's the problem.
Attar, in this simple story about Jesus, shows us the solution to all of this. We must empty our "purses" of whatever is in there that reflects fear, hostility, or rejection. Then we must fill our "purses" with love. When our hearts and souls are so filled with love there is no room for anything else, it will not matter what happens around us, we will be able to bless all whom we meet.