Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Parasite

Luke 15

She is one of those people I am always glad to see. She loves God and her faith is simple and pure. She is pleasant and generous and she means it when she gives you a hug. I appreciate her even more because I know her life isn’t easy. She has some physical struggles, she’s is elderly but still working, I know she quietly endures weeks when she lives on beans and tortillas. Still, she cares for relatives and mothers other people’s children.
Her husband is a derelict, and addict, a bum, a parasite. He refuses to work and when he’s awake he drinks up the little “extra” money she can stash. There just aren’t enough good places to hide it. He doesn’t care how she is doing but when he can’t find enough to drink he rebukes her for not providing.
She is very easy to love. He is very easy to hate.

It’s revolting to me that to help her is to help him. He is going to find a way to siphon off some of any kindness shown to her, sleep on a warm couch and eat a hot meal because someone is trying to help her make ends meet. I have justified hating him because it makes me feel like I’m standing up for her.

I thought about the parasite a lot as I read Tim Keller’s book “The Prodigal God” (If you haven’t read it you need to.)
In “The Prodigal God” Tim Keller did what good teachers do; he stood me in the crowd who heard the parable from the lips of Jesus. Jesus said I can really only resent the parasite the way I do because of my own self righteousness, because I want my religiousness to merit something from God I don’t think the parasite deserves. He said I don’t want to love the parasite because I believe I’m more deserving of grace than he is. Then, he just left the story without an ending. I’m still standing here arguing with the Father about how much more I deserve his recklessly extravagant, wasteful love than the parasite does.

So now I have a choice to make. I’m either going to stick my nose in the air and stand my self righteous ground, or, I’m going to make it my commission to engage the parasite and show him the real gospel and invite him to share in the Father’s recklessly extravagant, wasteful love with me.
I’ll let you know what I do.

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