Lessons in being a disciple of Christ can continue throughout our lives. That’s a good thing, I’m sure, but some days it seems that the more I learn, the more I see how far I fall short.
Yesterday I learned a good lesson from my friend Miguel. (And to protect his privacy, I’m not using his real name here.)
Miguel showed me something of what it can mean to turn the other cheek.
The first time I met him, he lived in a nice home in the hills above the city—a place he had built as a refuge for his family. It was a lovely place. I enjoyed a few days of peace with them there. How fortunate they were, I felt, to have such a place.
Now he and his wife, well into their “golden” years, live in other circumstances. Their home was taken from them cruelly by someone who coveted—a former business associate Miguel had trusted. A little deception in the office, a little forgery, and my friend and his family found themselves being evicted from their nice home.
He speaks about it matter-of-factly now. There was nothing he could do.
I don’t know if he protested, or if he fought. I would have. But he seems to be at peace with it now.
I’m sure I would still be whining, “But he can’t get away with that! It’s wrong! If people can get away with cheating others like that, then what protection do the law and society offer?”
Some people would be asking “Why?” after something like this happened to them. I have learned that “Why?” is usually useless after the fact—a waste of time. The situation simply must be dealt with, and worrying about the why is unproductive.
But I am not good at letting go when injustice is involved. How can we let someone get away with cheating another innocent person? If society tolerates that, are we not also guilty? Are we not guilty of letting the thief abuse one of Heavenly Father’s children who did not deserve it?
But now we are skirting the dangerous swamp of deciding who “deserves” evil and who does not.
My friend Miguel is wiser than I. He seemingly does not spend any time occupying his mind with past hurts. The man who cheated him may need to carry that baggage into eternity, but Miguel knows that he does not.
He still has the most important things in his life—a strong family, a woman of great spiritual strength beside him, his faith that God loves him. He still looks outward. Getting burned did not make him fearful of extending himself to others. He still serves.
Would I be able to do that? I’m not sure. And this worries me a bit, because that is exactly where the road of discipleship leads.