Wednesday, February 09, 2011

God's annoying ggenerosity

Recently, I was lying in bed and the Holy Spirit brought this verse to my mind:
"Is your eye evil because I'm good?" Loose translation: Are you angry with me because I'm good to others.

Well, I thought about it but since I didn't want to think about it, I didn't think about it too much. But the Holy Spirit was persistent and led my husband to the same verse through one of those annoying Godly coincidences. So, I thought: "Well, I could assume this is just a co-incidence or I could assume it's meant specifically for me. It might be God hinting to me about my illness or some other issue in our lives."

This verse occurs in the parable found at Matthew 20:15

Theologically, the verse means that God will be just to everyone but he will be merciful to whoever He wills to show mercy to. God is not unfair.

But spiritually, in my personal situation, it was God inviting me to release some people from my judgment of them. The world is full of people who were not as good or hard-working as we were. Even though we are all sinners, there are some folks who are really really bad sinners. We all break the law of God if we break one part of the law. All are lawbreakers, but all are not equally evil. A little kid who lies is not as evil as Hitler or Stalin for instance.

The feeling in this parable is one of woundedness and injustice. The workers who were hired early in the day did a lot of work. They were getting a generous pay for their work. Later, a few hours later, other workers were hired and were also given the same pay. These also got the same pay rate: The denarius. Heaven. The joy of being hired to work in the Lord's field. Then there were the folks at the end.

Now, although the situation isn't exactly paralleled to my situation, I saw what the Lord meant. I have a tendency to be very upset when one who has hurt me is blessed. My brother-in-law was very racist toward me and on the day my husband and I got married, he told me off. Yep, I got a nasty tongue-lashing from a racist evil brother-in-law an hour after my wedding telling me he didn't want me to taint his family. I've had other crap from other folks along my life's journey. And honestly, it has left me with a real anger at God's kindness to such people. Imagine having to stuff one's anger down when one's unemployed husband gives money to his equally unemployed brother when all one wanted to do was scream! Hubby's family was so cruel to me that fibromyalgia popped up and ill health. Yet, they have remained healthy.

When i heard he had a baby, I was so pissed. Why would God bless them with a healthy baby when they were so scornful and racist about me and my baby? To see someone who has not borne the heat of the day receive blessing from God is hard. So far, I've managed to pray for their finances, their health, etc...but it's been hard as heck to pray for their salvation. Truly, although I believe in hell, I don't feel any great need to prevent my in-laws from going there. To "get the Lord's wages at the end of the day," so to speak.

But I felt as if God was reminding me that being angry with God because of His goodness to people I can't stand is indulging in legalism. And, as St Paul says, once we start judging another, we are no longer under grace but under law. So, although I am a Christian who totally believes in grace... because of this resentment at God for His kindness to cruel people, for "good things happening to bad people" I had fallen out of the kingdom of God's dear son and into the kingdom of darkness. St Paul told the Galatians that whoever is under legalism and under the law is cursed. Any tiny amount of judgment on our part shows us to be still using a measuring stick that measures worth.

Anyway, I repented of this attitude and asked God to free me from the wounds caused that makes me so angry at him. (Let's face it: some of the "good" people in the Bible are people one would not want to really befriend. Abram giving his wife away and sending his young son out into the desert to die and using his slave woman as a sexual slave. Not to mention David who killed the adopted sons of his ex-wife Michal because he could.) But a theistic personal God has His own personality...or else He would not be a true being...and we must take that personality the way we find it.

Hard though it is, I shall have to like it when good things happen to really bad people. Am just hoping I don't deal with anymore creeps. It's enough of a struggle not judging one's enemy but it's hard as heck not to judge God. (Just saying, Lord! You know I love you. But speaking the truth in love. ;-)

Matthew 20 (King James Version)

 1For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
 2And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
 3And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
 4And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
 5Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
 6And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
 7They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
 8So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
 9And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
 10But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
 11And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
 12Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
 13But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
 14Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
 15Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
 16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

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