Religion and Musing.
Friday, July 23, 2010 1:03:24 PM
I was walking through the eatery behind an already tired looking waitress when she sat me a a table near another table filled with three men of various ages, each with a bible folded open in from of their breakfast plates. I sat myself with my back to the men to afford both their and my private space as best as could be had in the close quarters.
Regardless of my engaging Michael Chabon book that I had open to read with my food I could not help but overhear the conversation of the men behind me. I'll call them Man#1, Man #2 and Man #3.
Man #1: "Now if she is living badly and going against the doctrine of Jesus, well then that not a healthy thing."
Man #2: "I know she is."
Man #1: "That is not acceptable and that behavior should be shunned. She needs to be made to understand."
Man #3: "She has to live for Jesus."
Man#2: "I know 100% that she does not want help, no help at all. I think I'm done with her. I think she needs to be cut loose from everyone."
Man#1: "Well now the Christian thing to do is to not abandon her and to continue to try and help her, to save her, but....."
Man#2: "Yeah but I can guarantee you that she wants absolutely no help. I think everybody needs to just cut ties."
Man#1: "But if you are a Christian and a believer then it is your duty to try and help anyway."
Man#2: "Yeah but I'm telling you 100%....."
And then the conversation sort of trailed off just soft enough to be hard to hear clearly except in snippets by me. I was left feeling sort of indignant and offended, as well as very sorry for the lady in question.
Now just reading the above I'm sure you imagine the conversation as one where one man was trying to encourage with compassion the other not to give up on another human being. What you as the reader didn't get a sense of was the intention and emotional expression coming off of the speakers.
The tone and inflection I picked up from Man #2 was of eagerness to get approval from his fellow diners to do what he clearly had already decided to do, which was to abandon this woman. I could hear it in his voice, that need to be told that he was doing the right thing by walking away from someone clearly troubled and that needed help. What was bothersome was that he didn't just want approval but he had enough conviction of emotion in the things he was saying to show that he was trying to persuade the others to his feeling that this woman was beyond saving.
What was also troubling to me was that Man#1, through all his well intended directions clearly had no feeling in his voice to back up what he was saying.
What bothered me about all of this was that this woman's fate as to possible family or friends emotional and spiritual support and whether or not she was going to continue to have it was being decided over eggs, bacon and coffee by men who had already made up their minds about the outcome. They were backing this up by saying that it would be polluting and unchristian to have to deal with this woman any longer.
This wasn't a discussion about how to help her, it was more of a discussion about how to get rid of her and not to feel bad about it.
Now I may not be the best example of a Christian but I'm a total believer in what Man#1 was saying in that when someone seems beyond redemption, that is exactly when you need to try and help them even more. I believe that no one is beyond redemption, even when their sins are so heinous that they can hardly be faced or dealt with by the majority. I may believe in the death penalty in this world but that doesn't mean that I think God won't save the sinners in the end.
I was deeply disturbed by Man#2 in his conviction and eagerness to reject the woman. It bothered me that he had completely written her off not only in this life but also seemed to be writing her off from God with some of the things he was saying.
Noboby on this planet should feel like they have the right to say that God won't save or love another person because of actions that disagree with one person's personal choices over another.
Nobody should be so smug about saying that sort of thing.
There is no way we can know whether or not God saves all. If you are a Christian you are suppose to accept that God would even save someone like Hitler just the same as he would save you. That is a hard thing for most of us to image, but in a Christian world that is suppose to be how it works if a person has repented for their sins and no one can truly know if the man or woman next to them has really repented. Only God can know that for sure.
Why would Man #2 think it's perfectly okay feel like he knows what God will or won't do with another person when there is no way to know for sure until it's you up on the plate?
Worse of all and haunting me still is that as much as I wanted to turn around and say just that to him...I didn't.
Call it not wanting to get in the middle of something I didn't have all the facts to, but at that moment I was so profoundly sad for the lady they were talking about that I couldn't form the words to say anything at all in the moments before they finally left the table with their decisions clearly made.
Even still now I wish I had said something, even if they would have been abusive to me about interfering and butting in.
So I did the only thing left to me to do.
I prayed for the sinner I don't even know and will probably never know, knowing that we all share her burden.