"a sign that is spoken against"

Heather and I have been spending a lot of time and effort working out emotional issues between us and learning to understand each other better. She's better at it than me. But I'm beginning to understand how important it is and how it can help us both individually and as a couple.

I'm overwhelmed, though, by how complex and subtle our emotional and psychological lives are. Even if a person happens to be very sensitive and skilled at sorting those issues out, it seems like we could only get to know a few people intimately enough to really help them in an informed, intentional way. Most people we meet, we can't hope to delve deep enough.

But there are other ways to reach people deeply, I think. Yesterday I read this favorite passage about Jesus as a baby (Lk 2.34-35):

Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
"Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel,
and for a sign that is spoken against
(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also),
that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."

Just by being "a sign that is spoken against," Jesus helped reveal the thoughts of many hearts. By the way people responded to Jesus (with his challenging, provocative life) they showed what was in their hearts, how they stood in relation to God. Hopefully they showed it to themselves. But Jesus didn't have to get to know them intimately, or sort through all their issues, to reveal what was deepest and most important in them.

In an on old journal I wrote about how the poor also do this (but this would also apply to other weakness and vulnerability as well, especially if it is taken on voluntarily):
Often most of us don't even meet a poor person, because society pushes the poor out of sight. But the poor, because they are vulnerable and easily ignored, are lightning rods for bad treatment (or mercy). So they usually bring out the tendencies in us that otherwise remain hidden. It's not only about how we treat one poor person. The way we treat the poor shows how we also treat our family, co-workers, neighbors, etc.; though with them, we probably use more diplomacy. Because they can retaliate. What an encounter with the poor offers us is a glimpse into our own soul. Which is exactly why they appear so often in Jesus' parables and sayings--they give us a glimpse into our soul.

[The next day:]
I was thinking of parables where the poor appear to make the secrets of the heart known (like Jesus, also a poor man): The Sheep and Goats, and The Rich Man and Lazarus, obviously. But also The Good Samaritan; the man left by the side of the road is poor and wounded. And The Unmerciful Servant, who has been forgiven much, yet demands repayment from another who can't pay the small sum he owes (a relatively poor man).
I hope I can continue to find ways to be (with Jesus) "a sign that is spoken against... that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."