In their affliction, people will say:
"Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD;
as certain as the dawn is his coming,
and his judgment shines forth like the light of day!
He will come to us like the rain,
like spring rain that waters the earth."
What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your piety is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that early passes away.
For this reason I smote them through the prophets,
I slew them by the words of my mouth;
for it is love that I desire, not sacrifice,
and knowledge of God rather than holocausts.
"[Jesus said,] "I did not come to call the righteous but sinners." " -- Matthew 9:9-13
TODAY'S READINGS speak strongly to me in view of what has happened these past weeks.
Had been quite furious with someone who happened to share some space with me at work since November last year.
She is very free at work, arrives late in the morning and leaves on the dot; considers herself most honorable and responsible; quits a treasurer post with a club half-way through the term (claiming that she has no time to do the work); chats casually on the phone almost incessantly; tried to chit-chat with me during my busiest moments; passed her handphone to me to recharge daily until my charger was spoilt; borrowed a book of mine (leaving her own copy at home apparently) for a long time and didn't bother to return it until asked (even then, she actually claimed initially that the book belonged to her); misunderstood what I said and insisted that her interpretation was right; tried to force me to go the gym with her every day; borrowed my scissors repeatedly (though i've asked her several times to go and get her own from the admin - "It's free, you know?"), dirtied my scissors several times (using them to cut some foodstuff); claimed that she would readily let me use any of her things (Really? What indeed? Has it occured to her that i don't even want to do so?); and had the gall to accuse me of breaking up our relationship (what kind of relationship are we supposed to have?); and of being 'stingy' (in asking for my things back and in rebuking her for dirtying my scissors for the upmteenth time?).
Is this the purpose of my life -- to satisfy her whims and wishes? She's really quite 'sick'. Stopped talking to her altogether for a few weeks. Wouldn't even look her in the eye.
However, i feel troubled by this continually. i can't stand relating to her in any way now. Yet, more and more, i realise that as Christians, we are called to forgive and to love unconditionally. As Jesus said in today's readings, "I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."
Perhaps sub-consciously, while not a Christian herself, she expects unconditional love from me. But what kind of 'love' are we Christians supposed to give to others? Didn't Jesus repeatedly move on from place to place, to do what He needed to do -- to reach out to more people and not be tied down to one person?
What am i supposed to do now? It's easier to be nice to people whom we meet only once in a while. How to handle this continual "pain in the neck"? How do i cancel this debt lovingly, and NOT be abused?
The Jesus Code - Unravelling the secret:
Fr Ronald Rolheiser wrote in his column in The Catholic News for this fortnight: "... What's hidden in the cross of Christ is the code that we have to break open if we are learn the deep secrets of life.
"... Jesus gave us the keys to crack it. They can be named: vulnerability, the refusal out of love to protect ourselves, refusing to give back in kind when someone hurts us, a willingness to die for others, the refusal to give ourselves over to cynicism and bitterness when things beset us, continued trust in God and goodness even when things look the opposite, and especially forgivenss, having our hearts remain warm and hospitable, even when we have just cuase for hatred. These are the keys to the wisdom that Jesus revealed and the Gospels tell that we are "inside" or "outside" the true circle of love, depending upon whether or not we grasp this wisdom."
Brrrrr! This is going to be tough!
Actually, i'm not ready to be a saint. :-p Not yet. In any case, would it be truly loving to let her continue to act in this abusive way? She needs to learn to behave reasonably and/or responsibly, right?
A piece of reasonable advice that i've received on this matter had been from an online friend P.:
"You need to reason with her the following:
- "sharing" means that you look after the thing you borrow (don't return it in a worse state);
- before sharing, both parties must agree on WHEN the thing must be returned (it's not being unreasonable to write down the date somewhere, so you know when to "chase" her for it)
Tell her you ARE happy to share, but only if she respects these basic rules. Of course, you also must point out that when you have borrowed her things, you treat them carefully and return them on time.
If she feels she cannot follow these basic ground rules, then tell her that because you treasure your stuff, it's only fair, and not stingy, if you do not share."