Friday, January 7, 2011

Resentment

Rachel and I watched Carrie Fisher's one woman show the other night. Hers is an interesting story of growing up in show business with all the dysfunction that goes with it. Near the end of the show, Ms. Fisher said "Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to drop dead."

Man.

I've recently had occasion to remind a couple of people of the wisdom in that statement but as per usual, the fact that it's stuck in my head is because I need to remember it.

Yesterday, Becka had a comment exchange with a friend whose family has been helping out a certain vagrant schizophrenic. (For the less caustic version, go here)Turns out, a year later, nothing has changed apart from our family being the only one to allow him quarter for more than a day or two.

When I heard about yesterday's incident, my first reaction was schadenfreude. I can't seem to help getting a little bit of enjoyment out of hearing of his continued struggles to bring the rest of the world into his delusional world. Okay, that's not totally true... depending on the day, I get a lot of enjoyment from it. When Krys told me last week of running into him and asking if God was still watching, I didn't even try to disguise my laughter.

A year later, it still bothers me that he had such a negative influence on an impressionable John. It bothers me that he speaks of us, the ones who sheltered him for 3 weeks, as the worst family he knows. It doesn't bother me that he says we're crazy... we had 11 people in the house at that time, several of whom needed ministry. It was a madhouse. Besides, a little crazy is what keeps us together and loving one another. It does bother me that he complains that we were too loud for his delicate sensibilities. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

It bothers me that he felt the need to come to me and complain that my pregnant daughter didn't want to get with him and ask what I thought he should do to win her over. I'm bothered he didn't accept the advice to leave her alone. It bothers me that he's gone from church to church (starting with the one we attend) and pushed the leadership to the point that he's been arrested a couple of times. It bothers me that he's outright said such things glorify him to God because he's withstanding persecution in His name. It bothers me that he's a flaming example of why a lot of people hate Christians. It bothers me that he showed up for the dedication of the first working baptistry in our church's 23 year history and disrupted the event screaming at the pastor in the hallway moments before the service began. It flat out makes me angry that sleeping in the cold hasn't humbled him enough to stop manipulating people with "I came to you because you're the only one who's been nice to me."

These and several other things bother me to the point of distraction.

They shouldn't.

I'd rather feel compelled to pray for his restoration and healing when I hear stories of his continued adventures rather than a spiteful sense of glee that he's still wearing out welcome after welcome.

I'd rather think of him with grace and a genuine (meaning I feel it too) hope that he finds true help and becomes the man God really wants him to be. I'd rather see him as God does... as the person he could be, rather than the walking cluster he is now. I'd rather feel a sense of love rather than an aloof sense of choosing love out of obligation where he's concerned. I'd like to believe that if something truly bad were to happen I'd feel sorrow... and right now, I don't think I would.

That really bothers me.

It's not who I want to be.

1 Corinthians 13 is what is commonly called the "Love Chapter".

The Greatest Gift
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


I truly believe those words. With every fiber of my being do I believe them... especially the highlighted verses. It's how Charlie and I have tried to live our lives... and the degree of "neener neener" that comes up when I think of Tim serves to remind me how easy it is to fall short of that standard.

Limits and boundaries, yes, of course those are needed... but lack of love should never be the issue.

I'm not going to make excuses about being human. Of course I am and of course it's natural for me to have ill feelings toward someone who has hurt or offended me... and when it comes down to it, my feelings (and pride... let's not forget that) were hurt when our gift of love and acceptance was spit upon and did not create the healing transformation for which we'd hoped. I felt a failure when we couldn't withstand his crap and had to take the measure of kicking him out. He broke our perfect streak! (freaking pride...)

Yes, I'm human... and honest enough to know I can be one nasty person when offended.

But I don't want to carry that crap around with me. If I can let go of stuff that's decades old, I should be able to set down the more recent stuff too. It hasn't been around long enough to build up a lot of extra crap to weigh it down and make it stickier. (nice mental image there, Marisa) It's hard to dance in a suit of garbage... and it has a tendency to fly off and stick to anyone close by.

Not that I'm saying Tim is crap. Under the illness is a sensitive kid who could be a wonderful man of God with a little maturity and healing.

But resentment is crap. There are far better emotions and actions on which to spend my energy.

I can't keep word of Tim's latest antics from finding their way to me... but I can consciously choose not to get wound up in it.

I'd rather dance through life without the crappy outer shell, thank you.