“Some days and weeks are better than others when you have arthritis,” I told my old neighbour Ed, who lives in Saskatchewan. “Has it gone to your brain yet?” Ed asked me without any serious concern. He did not wait for an answer but continued his questioning, “You couldn’t keep up with the rock to sweep it in your curling game, right? Did you drop another coffee cup on your kitchen counter?”
I said to Ed, “You guessed right, in that, I sacrificed my left knee in several races to sweep in front of speeding curling rocks. Yes, I committed the first manslaughter of my coffee cups in 2020. I dropped my cup on the kitchen counter. It did not die in pieces, without a tiny shard of glass embedding itself in my finger, while I cleaned up its remains. I had to have Ruby pick the glass out of my finger with a needle.”
“So, you are saying that your arthritis is making you slower and clumsier, lately,” Ed asked.
“Yes,” I answered, “And that I needed more mercy than, ‘Stand still, so I can see to get it out!’”
“You didn’t need mercy from Ruby. You needed her jabbing you with the needle to get the glass out. Being hurtful to you was better than not hurting you,” Ed told me.
Yes, Ed was right. We are blessed when we get what we need, not what we want. Most folks are ready to administer to us what they think we need. Most would say if a needle jabbed me, I deserved it because I am the one who got the shard of glass in my finger. Most folks feel justice is served if a person gets what they deserve. Sometimes when others are acting to help us, they will end up hurting us.
Helping others is about dealing with the truth. To get a shard of glass out of a finger, it will hurt either a little or a lot. Leaving a shard of glass embedded in a finger will cause an infection to grow until it is removed.
I did not deserve to have the shard of glass removed, since I was one who put it there. I am thankful my wife was willing to remove the shard. It was an act of kindness on her part. We may genuinely need help or forgiveness, but that is not to say we deserve them. Receiving help and forgiveness from others is receiving the right treatment from those extending it to us. It is undeserved help and forgiveness.
The truth is we can’t force someone to help us or to forgive us. Those who help and forgive us do so willingly. If we make a habit of helping and forgiving others, it does not mean others will reciprocate them to us. Thankfully, our God gave us love and forgiveness in Jesus, although we did not deserve them. Jesus returned good for evil on the cross. While we were yet in our sins, Jesus died for us. We help and forgive others not because they deserve them, but because God gives them to us who don’t deserve them either. As God gives to us, we give to others.