Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Stories in the Small Spaces of Scripture


Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more.

Next verse...same as the first.
Anger begets anger begets anger.
It starts to fed and fuel our whole lives.

Now, to be clear, if we glance ahead a bit, to hearing the dream, it isn't exactly like Joseph's dream is going to endear his brothers to him.  But I want to sit here for just a second to shine a light how on how it is so difficult to break out of the cycle of frustration with certain people in our lives.

You know how it is.  Someone says something that hurts...someone does something wounds...someone causes you such heartbreak that it aches.  Yes, I am talking about that person!  And you try to move past it...then they do, say, act in such a way that the scar (which isn't completely healed yet) is jarred.  And you try to move past that...the person does it again! 

But I also know at some point I can get so caught up that I only see the person as a problem and stop seeing the person as a child of God.  I can start to be so convinced the person is not worthy of love that I say things like, "Just look at that person....over there...breathing!  Taking up valuable oxygen that I could use."  When we see someone as no longer worthy of our love, that is the moment the person becomes expendable.

And here is the harder part for me...there are moments when I have done something that hurt a person that initiated the above vicious cycle.  I have been the one who is breathing and taking valuable oxygen.  I am not only the one who righteous anger...but the source/fuel of someone else's righteous anger.

Ouch.

Or, to put that another way, I am not always the hero in the story.  Sometimes I am the villain.  When I realize that...when I realize that sometimes my sharing/words/blog post/mere presence is causing someone else pain...it awakens something deep within.  One of my favorite quotes is that, "We want compassion for ourselves and justice for everyone else."  And while a quote like that can awaken our best defenses or justification...there is a truth in that.  My missteps and mistakes can be misunderstood or misconstrued...someone else...do I give that person such a benefit?  I get to be 3 dimensional with complexity...but can tend to turn others into a 2D character in my story.

Again...just to sit with this.  Not with guilt...not with defensiveness...not with a kind of interrogating bright light shining and blinding you.  But with just a soft light that you can just be in that moment and maybe even notice a trace...hint...scent...taste of grace on the tip of your tongue.  Maybe that is why we take a small pinch of bread and sip of juice...and we often do so at a communion table alongside people in the church who we don't always agree with or get along with.  The table preaches a sermon my words never could.

To sit with that...knowing God is there with us even in the brokenness with a love we need every day.  May that be true for you this day and for countless days to come.

Blessings

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