“I don’t tell many guys this…”
His eyes tear in that I’m-being-my-strongest-broken-self way as he tells me of the decades of pain he’s carried since childhood and only recently become truly aware of. I nod, meanwhile conscious of my efforts to make my posture look as understanding as possible.
Do you want to know what I think is sad and regrettable? The way we (and by ‘we’ I really mean ‘me’) consider it within our ability to decide who is worthy of our care and kindness.
Maybe I should start from the beginning.
Jesus showed me someone in need, but the first chain of experiences I had of them made me hard–I decided that this was not a person I liked right from the start, and while given my position at the time it may have been well justified to be incredulous and even suspicious, through the course of time since I’ve learned something; you can’t pick and choose who deserves compassion. Because the honest truth is, I tried not to have it, but I’ve cultivated too much love in myself, and it couldn’t help but manifest when in contact with one who needed it from just one person for once. Before I knew it I was inviting him in–you’re inviting me into your house?!–offering him something to eat and drink, and calling up to my wife to heat up some leftover chilli. Any other time I would’ve told you I didn’t even like the guy.
Because who am I to decide who deserves my kindness or friendship? Because ‘the least of these Jesus’ brethren’ probably aren’t the pleasant, nice people that you think they are; they’re dirty, disliked, vulgar–but what do you expect from broken people?
Jesus, I don’t want to decide any more who deserves what I have to offer – you tell me it’s not about being deserving any more, anyway. Show me what your unbiased compassion looks like. You gave yourself for me though I’ve never deserved it, so I’m willing to give myself to others even if they don’t deserve it.