August 6, 2016 7:31 am EDT
It gets more and more curious, more and more impossibly fucking ridiculous. Mother fucking Ryan is asleep on the couch. Snoring. With the TV on.
I’m feeling very angry today. A little confused, too.
What did Jesus say about thieves? If someone steals your coat, give them your shirt, too?
Well, it’s pretty clear in Luke Chapter 6 (NIV):
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Takes all the fury from my sails.
But aren’t there limits to this?
I sure don’t want to be like the author of an article I read before I found this scripture above. He wrote a whole article about a supposed misplaced comma in the words of Jesus, concluding it was impossible that Jesus could actually have meant that the dude hanging next to him, a penitent thief, would go to heaven that very day to join Jesus for Jesus himself wouldn’t go to heaven for three days. They missed the part where Jesus was able to forego the laws of nature and could indeed be in two places at the same time, or everywhere at the same time.
I’m honestly resisting this. I suppose that’s not unusual—most people probably do resist this. It changes a lot, maybe even everything.
Am I to believe that Ryan (thief boy!) is here for an actual reason? A divine reason? Is it really God’s will that the little fucker would be here and rob me of my serenity?
Seems pretty clear that Jesus’s words, about when a thief steals my coat I should offer him my shirt, too, were what I needed to think about, and heed. And it seems clear also that that one phrase led me to more, the never condemning piece, for example, and the clear active role I’m supposed to take. I get it.
But what I don’t get is the how I’m supposed to reconcile it part. Should I really be grateful to have my time and serenity stolen this morning? I’m writing about this, trying to find peace and sanity, when there are dozens of other, more productive things I could be doing.
Maybe the answer is that it’s not supposed to be reconcilable. That’s kinda the point Jesus was making. If I were to be kind to someone I knew would add to my life, what credit is that to me? My anger is justified. All my feelings are justified. He is causing actual harm to me. What choices do I have? I could run and pretend it’s not happening, stand and fight, or choose to forgive.
The divine way is not about fight or flight but is about a third approach. Standing in forgiveness, in strength, in trust, knowing it’s not our job to fix the world and knowing also we can’t be harmed, trusting in our divinity.
I’m still resisting some, but my choice is to forgive. I forgive my unwelcome houseguest and choose to try and be welcoming. I forgive my housemate, too, for letting the kid stay over on our couch after I made it very clear that the kid had stolen from me and I wasn’t happy about him being around.
I forgive, and I find peace. And I learn a little more about myself, and about how God wants us to live in this world. It’s not easy, but I’ll do my best today, to be charitable, loving, and trusting.