When a someone speaks berating and unbecomingly in your office, in front of others…especially when they’re wrong, since they didn’t properly fill out their paperwork.
When you’ve spent ridiculous amounts of time trying to help expedite a Medicaid mess for a someone, and they walk into your office upset with you…because of a misunderstanding.
When a person treats you with distain and disrespect, then expects you (expects, mind you) to help them when they need it.
(Thankfully, God’s sense of justice does not match my sense of justice.)
Okay, these are First World problems. No, not even problems. These are inconveniences. Irritations. Now for some quality perspective.
Especially when the hunger is exacerbated by government graft, not merely lack of rain…
Here’s another bit of perspective buried pretty deeply in an Old Testament story. Now, the Hebrew culture at the time allowed for polygamy, (which is a whole separate theologically and socially relevant discussion way beyond my early morning brain cells or word count.) The judge Gideon, of the “famous fleeces”, had a bunch of wives and, correspondingly, a tassel of kids.
He also had a concubine, sort of a live-in, not-quite-a-wife, it’s-complicated kind of relationship, but it got really complicated when the one son she had, Abimelech, decided to stir up trouble in a massive power play by getting all of his half-brothers murdered.
All, that is, but one.
Jotham made a summarily bold move, (okay, from a hilltop, but still…), by confronting the men who allowed this to happen.
“For he [Gideon] fought for you and risked his life when he rescued you from the Midianites. But today you have revolted against my father and his descendants, killing his seventy sons on one stone. And you have chosen his slave woman’s son, Abimelech, to be your king just because he is your relative.”
“Jotham continued, ‘Now make sure you have acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelech your king, and that you have done right by Gideon and all of his descendants. Have you treated him with the honor he deserves for all he accomplished?…’”
Then he went home, wherever that was now, since his previous place of residene had become a blood bath.
“After Abimelech had ruled over Israel for three years, God…”
Jotham had to wait…for three years. (Which is short compared to some.) He did NOT take matters into his own hands. His hands were too small anyway, whereas God’s hands are always big enough. God made good on the situation, as He always does, in His time and in His way.
Still, I empathize with Calvin in the Watterson’s cartoon. But in my more rational, wizened moments, I am thankful for the sure “goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life”—‘cuz I know I need it as much as the next guy. I am called to mercy this side of the Cross, not revenge, not offense.
I am also called to smell pretty:
“Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.”
Everywhere, every situation, every encounter, every irritating people, perhaps the one in the next pew.
Or even with, (especially with?) my own fallibilities and mistakes.
Thank God for the lightning bolts that haven’t come my way.
Judges 9:17-19, 22,23; 2 Corinthians 2:14 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.