Monday, February 15, 2016
The Time I Stole Bob's Coat
One morning I was awakened, earlier than necessary, by one of my boys. He came into our room to tell me about his childish mishap. Though it turned out to be not as bad as I was expecting, I immediately allowed a twinge of resentment. I knew that the problem would be mine to deal with. My husband could lie there blissful and carefree, unburdened by the waiting problem. It would fall on my shoulders. But then, right away, I felt convicted. How many times has a problem come up and there was no doubt at all that it would fall on his shoulders? Leaky faucet? Keith's job. Heavy thing to carry? Keith's job. Mouse or spider or any other icky crawly thing? Keith will take care of it and we both know it. It's nice that he is able to relax knowing that there are a lot of things that I'm going to take care of, no question. But I'm a lucky girl because I can count on him, too.
It's easy to feel resentful about our responsibilities. We can fool ourselves into thinking that our loads are heavier than they should be. We think it's not fair. That sort of self-centered thinking can lead to a lot of heartache. In The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus set us straight about fairness.
38“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth'. 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
I stole Bob's coat once. It was an accident. It happened one Sunday after church. I had put a coat onto one of my boys and then he ran off. I yanked a black coat off of its hanger and ran after my son. As I called his name and demanded he return to me, I put the coat on and tried to button it. I believe I said something like "Jesse! Jesse! Get back over he- this is not my coat!"
It was Pastor Bob's coat. It was way too big, and had my kid not distracted me, I probably wouldn't have taken it. I went back to where the coats were hanging and Bob was standing there looking politely confused.
I confessed. He laughed. He graciously said, "I just figured someone needed it more than me."
Even though someone took something that belonged to him, he didn't act as if his rights had been violated. He didn't talk about fairness. Now, of course, it was only a few seconds that I had Bob's coat in my possession, but he still handled the mistake with grace.
In the everyday-ness of life it's hard not to feel resentful sometimes. It's hard not to fret about things not being fair. But what I need to remember is that I am so richly blessed in so many ways. And I don't deserve it. I'll try to remind myself of that when I fall into the trap of thinking about "fairness". There are many, many times when something isn't fair in my favor. If everything was fair I would be utterly lost. It wasn't fair when Jesus took my place on the cross.