Last week I was logical and historical. I left out that I was also ticked off.
The scene reminded me of a child being brought before the principal.
“Now Donny, we have had a talk before. When we found out that you and those other kids put up a camera in the girls’ bathroom, we didn’t expel you now, did we? No. Yet, here we are. And we found that you tried to start a gang to rule the playground. We can’t let this sort of behavior continue.”
If someone does wrong to you, do not pay him back by doing wrong to him. Try to do what everyone thinks is right. Do your best to live in peace with everyone. -Romans 12:17-18
By Thursday morning I needed a release. The real world had gotten to me. A run was called for. And if I went on that run around midnight, so be it. All that pent-up frustration had to go somewhere and it was taking me with it.
The nice thing about jogging that early in the morning is the lack of people. Clarity is easier to find.
The stars were out. Normally, the constellation that greets me is Orion. It likes to hover over my apartment building. I have spotted it many times as I came home late or waited for my bus.
When you are praying, and you remember that you are angry with another person about something, then forgive him. If you do this, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins. -Mark 11:25
Last week though, the stars that shone the brightest seemed to be Ursa Major. In the clear winter sky, I kept running towards it, knowing I would never really get there. And the constellation was pointed in such a way that it resembled a question mark.
That was what I was confronted with; a question. How am I supposed to proceed the way that I know I should? I know full well what I am supposed to do. The Bible is hardly subtle about such matters.
Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ. -Ephesians 4:32
Forgive. Be kind. Do not spend your days wishing that someone would be carted away in handcuffs or locked up. That is what I am told to focus on.
But, c’mon. Twice? He incites actions of treason twice? (Begrudgingly, one has to admit that that is impressive. Twice. Oy.) I do not want to forgive or be kind. I want justice. I want folks to say, “Hey, maybe not break the law? Can we try that?”
You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.” But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. -Matthew 5:43-44
At the same time, there I was, breaking the law. My jogging route is technically a trail. If I take it as such, then I am supposed to be off the path by sunset. If I run at a park, then I should not be there after 11 p.m. Signs have been posted stating these rules. I am aware of them. Yet I continue to trespass in this way. I even jaywalked (jayran, actually) across the street to get to my route. All of this in the cover of darkness. (Imagine if I had expectorated on a public sidewalk. Oh, the lawlessness!)
I could argue that my crimes had less impact. My escapades keep me from yelling at others or being a mass of rage. It calms me down. It must be a victimless crime, right?
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” -John 8:7
Yet it is still a crime. He committed his crimes. I committed mine. His were on the giant, public, world-stage. Mine were unnoticed. Yet we both acted in ways that were not entirely legal.
I reached the halfway part of my run. I turned around. As I looked back up to the sky, I noticed that the morning clouds and fog had come in. I could no longer see the stars above. No bears, no giant spoons, no question marks.
I tell you the truth. All sins that people do can be forgiven. And all the bad things that people say against God can be forgiven. -Mark 3:29
That is probably what I need. Something to come in and wipe it all away. Like a magician, coming on stage, waving a shiny cloth, and then whipping it away to reveal a new reality.
Then Peter came up and said to Him, “Lord, how many times shall my brother sin against me and I still forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to [a]seventy-seven times.” -Matthew 18:21-22
I could use someone to make it all better. It would be nice to magically accept that sometimes people do things that I disagree with. None of us is perfect. Some of us get a bit closer to that seventy times seven bit, but we all have our foibles.
Right now my struggle is to move on. To accept that to err is human but to forgive is divine. To stop erring altogether? That will take a miracle, no matter who you are.