Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"Me odias, pero me necesitas"

"Me odias, pero me necesitas" ("You hate me, but you need me"). The Riverside Press-Enterprise saw this sign at the May Day demonstration in Riverside, and when I read it, I got to thinking.

The sign spoke truth, but it gets worse. We hate people precisely because we do need them, even if they are no way at fault, just because we don't like being in that position. That's where our craving for independence and self-sufficiency takes us. No marvel that once we think this way, we hate our parents, God, and anyone else whose help we need, especially when they give it freely.

How dumb we are to put people in our debt if we can in any way avoid it! We may imagine that we're making them feel obliged to love us, but we're just inciting them to hate us, and if indeed we actually intend to create such dependency, we've really earned that hatred, because we sure don't want people to do us that way.

As Jesus pointed out, we love much when we're forgiven much, and forgiveness is simply writing off debt. We are really dependent on God for everything, but as He gives, He writes it off any way he can. He even finds ways to put Himself in our debt: "One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed" (Proverbs 19:17).

If I treat you right, you don't owe me. I'm not doing you a favor. God is doing me a favor by causing me to be a decent human being. If I want you to repay me somehow, God is doing me a favor when He makes sure that you don't. You don't have to be afraid to receive gratefully from God, because He doesn't obligate you with guilt trips, even though religious people often try to hang that on us in His name. God doesn't do us right to get something out of us, as Psalm 50 points out. God does us right because He's a mensch, and He lives up to His character.

Let's learn from Him to do likewise.


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