She grinned a toothy smile as she turned away that left me not a drop of sweat short of uneasy. It was missing substance–not to mention actual teeth–and there was a faint though unmistakable smell of alcohol about her.
I don’t think she had any inclination–in fact I’m sure of it–as to who I might be. But I knew who she was. From the moment she walked in to the second she said her name my brain was wracking itself for an explanation to the familiarity–and then it hit like a thunderbolt. I knew who she was.
But I guess you still don’t.
All you really need to know is that dealings between herself and parties I was inseparably involved with had gone bad – police and court had been involved. It had never come my direction, but the drama surrounding those events had left enough of a lasting impression to well justify the unease I was now feeling–even if it was perhaps slightly silly.
In spite of my discomfort, no incident took place. She finished her business, left, and I went on about my evening. But as I sat back down something triggered in my brain. I can’t say it was anything short of the breath of God that whispered the thought in my being–the least of these.
Wait a minute, Jesus.
I don’t like what You’re suggesting here.
I struggled with the implication–till of course, he brought to mind that I’d been talking about this very thing just the other day.
But I can’t even think pleasant thoughts about her, Jesus, she’s the worst of the worst.
Isn’t that the point?
I’m thinking sobering thoughts. I don’t have it in me to love. Not really. Not like that. If Jesus does, he’s so much higher than I’ve ever really actually dared to believe. Sure, church taught me Jesus loves everybody. But church also taught me Jesus loved totally hands-off. I guess the parts of the Bible where Jesus actually touched people–the worst of the worst of his society–made them uncomfortable. They make me uncomfortable, too, because if Jesus did that, and he loves through me, he wants me to touch people the way he did. Not only the nice, fair, clean-smelling people.
Well Jesus, if that’s what you want from me, you’ve got a lot of work to do in here still.
All that’s going through my mind right now is “Love your enemy; pray for those who persecute you.” I can’t think of any personal enemies off-hand, but I know I’ve never classified even the woman I saw tonight as an enemy. I want the liberty and power in that kind of love. I guess this is my starting place and the nudge to take the first shaky step.
Jesus, I want the power to love even my enemies. It is the one thing that will turn the world up-side-down. Tonight I put my discomfort and ultimately, my anger and unforgiveness towards this woman into your hands – I do not want them any longer. I lift her into your hands and I stand with you for the life and salvation of even her. Touch her life with every ounce of the love you’ve always shown to me, your son; may her way lead her to joy, righteousness, and incomparable rest in your fullness.
Show me who’s next.