when you feel you can’t win

In response to my recent post I have heard from a few (white) people who say something like this: Nothing we can do is right. If we speak, we’re wrong to speak; if we’re silent, we’re wrong to be silent. What are we supposed to do??

If you feel that people are treating you unfairly … well, to this at least there’s a straightforward answer for Christians:

But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

And like the commandment to forgive, this one doesn’t come with exceptions.

Easier said than done, right? Much easier. (I speak to you as the all-time grandmaster of Talking A Good Game.) And yet there’s a simplicity about this that’s immensely liberating. Just knowing what I’m supposed to relieves me of the burden of worrying about other people’s intentions, other people’s morals. It doesn’t matter what their intentions and their morals are: my job is precisely the same whatever the state of their souls.

These are the words I’ve decided to spend the next month meditating on: Love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.