Work of God and Prayer

The Anchoress writes in Not believing is even worse of her conversation with a Muslim cab driver in Brooklyn:

“God is merciful,” he said. “Many people, all kinds of people, try to live in this way. My people, some Christian people, some Jewish people, they all try, but it is not always easy, as some think it is.”

“No, but we try.” I mused. “We people of faith all try to live it, and we all believe, and yet we have no peace between us.”

He shrugged. I got the impression that this was a conversation neither of us would be having, if one of us did not have our back to the other. “Faith is good,” he mused. “But peace…is difficult. We all believe different things.”

Ah, the eternal struggle – the mobius upon which we all ride and cannot escape. Why can’t believers simply allow other believers their beliefs? Because they believe.

I teased the driver, “maybe, then, we believers should just stop believing, and that would solve everything.”

“No, no,” he answered very seriously. “Not believing is even worse.”

Alisyn Camerota  wrote of a conversation with an Iraqi Colonel over dinner at his home in Baghdad:

“One day, while he and his oldest son (His four sons were named after the followers of the Prophet Mohammed.) worked his shop, three armed men came in and kidnapped them.  For three days COL M. was beaten and tortured and when he wasn’t being tortured, he listened to the screams of his teenage son in the next room receiving the same treatment.
I told him I was sorry for the loss of his family members and hoped that this was not the future of Iraq.  I said good night and left.  As we walked to the Humvee, I felt a little uneasy about showing him my family pictures.  Had I made that cultural flaw that would ruin our relationship? In the back ground, an Iraqi Jundi called to us.  My interpreter ran back inside the building.  When he returned, he handed me a plastic bag with some photographs, “the Colonel wants you to see these and bring them back tomorrow.”
We drove the bumpy ride home and by midnight I was looking at my secret plastic bag with the white label in English on the outside.  It was about a dozen photographs of him and his son whipped across their backs, arms, legs and heads;  facial expressions of broken men.  His wounds had the consistency of being whipped by a piece of cane, the skin exploding with each strike swelling from the inside as the blood rushed to the surface.  COL Ms upper left arm severely bruised and bloodied from different techniques of punching, pulling, twisting and whipping.  The left side of his back split open and bruised as well from three days worth of continued beatings.  He and his son tortured over a name and religion, beaten because his son was named after the follower of a Prophet.”

We all suffer for believing;  not believing is even worse.  Our coming together will be a work of God, Who hears the prayers of all who believe.  Those who don’t believe do not escape suffering, but here there is no prayer.

That's Not Forgiveness – That's Revenge

“That’s not forgiveness; that’s revenge.”  Father, whose on the older side of old and on the happy side of holy, can speak those hard to hear words because the day to day battle’s of life have yielded a humble, gentle man. His words have the haunting power of the Holy Ghost.

It is true that there is a certain perverse pleasure in holding-on to a grudge.  Sulking off and licking the wound can become a ritual of sorts.  Forgiving does break into my world of remembered, if not treasured, trove of offenses.  What price the bounty for your absoultion? The very idea of Scott-free seems unfair.  So what cost forgiveness?

Will a litany of the pain I’ve suffered suffice? That doesn’t really touch-on just how bad you are for hurting me (real or imagined.) Do I get a chance to tell you?  Still, that doesn’t even come to tit-for-tat.  If I do my generous deed, can I still take the memory out and feel self-justified?  Or will my good angels shake a finger at me?  Letting you off my hook  would be easier if I could see you squirm a bit.

When I was kinder and gentler, I would have asked, “What would Jesus do?  My day to day seems to have hardened  my heart.  A pound of flesh, that’s the price I put on my forgiveness.  Hmmm………Father is right.  That’s not forgiveness.  That’s revenge!