I’ve been listening to a new podcast and it is helping me have a bit of bounce in my step after a few rough months. Sometimes I have a really difficult time connecting to the Bible and this, new to me, podcast has really been giving me a beautiful new perspective. I have been going through life this week a little lighter, a little happier and a little kinder, at least I thought.
So today I get a text from a friend that basically was telling me how badly her life is going right now. And it does seem like this friend keeps getting hit with punch after punch of life’s troubles. Not just small punches either, but death, hospitalization, car accidents along with some other things. She is a lovely, loving human and sometimes seems to get handed a raw deal.
So here I am, the classic co dependent Ms. Fix it… I send her text messages, ask what I can do, can I help with anything.
At the same time in my head I am judging. Because that is what we do to one another right?
- “Sometimes God strips you down to make you better. I bet that is what’s happening”
- “She really needs to re-evaluate her perspective of life.”
- “She needs to focus on her interior self and then things will begin to heal for her exterior life.”
And maybe as non harmful as those statements may seem, they come with an air of judgement, like “maybe I am doing this life thing better than others.” Or, “I could fix her if she would listen.”
Both things, which, are entirely untrue, unwarranted and incorrect. I am no one to have these thoughts. But it is this game we play in this life, like thought bubble, “maybe my life reflects better in light of someone else’s suffering.” This transactionalism we play with God… “Clearly I am earning his favor because, right now, I am feeling pretty good.” When it says all throughout the bible that, that idea is invalid. God’s love is automatic. There is no measure of earning more of it.
So meanwhile, my business is in Trenton, and we have tons of bike traffic on my street. I am sitting in my car reading these text messages, offering my advice, and I am startled because this man pulls up next to my car on a bike.
I crack my window and he says, “You got 50 cents I can have.”
I was startled, and without thinking shook my head no.
He continues, “You got 25 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents, 1 cent? Anything?” I still shook my head no. As he left, I was immediately ashamed and the last part of this man’s ask shook me. He said it as he was peddling away, “Do you have anything for me?” He knew I was saying no, and he continued to make his asks smaller and smaller…
“DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR ME?”
As I was sitting there judging someone for being too superficial, too concerned with her exterior life, I turned away a man asking for anything, a single cent. A man Jesus would have taken in and befriended and spoken with. I could not even take the time to think about a response before I turned him away.
When God shows up…