Crowds surrounded us, beautiful photos from the new exhibit on display were everywhere. My friends and I were standing in line at a food truck when one of them realized she forgot her money. She immediately looked in desperation at me, and I complied. But my heart didn’t. I was mad, hurt, annoyed, all of the sudden concerned about my budget. Could I think of a thousand situation-specific reasons to feel justified in my self righteous indignation? Of course. Was it right? Of course not.
If she had been a client, one of the neighbors I try to serve, or even a stranger, I would have happily fronted the [admittedly small] bill and felt great about it. Why is it different when it is a close friend?
I have noticed this same attitude creep up in my relationships with my family. It is relatively easy to “love” and “humbly serve” when the messiness of a close human relationship isn’t in the mix. However, that is exactly where Jesus loved the most. He loved when one of his best friends betrayed him. He forgave when another one denied he knew him. He gave when he had nothing left.
I love serving and the idea of altruism. But I will not serve the people who are closest to me. I love giving, but I only give to charities that have spic-and-span 990s. When did changing the world become so… fake?
I, for one, am repenting of this nonsense. I am apologizing to my friend for being a jerk (I left that part out of the story, but I was a jerk). And, I am going to try to love in serve in the midst of messiness. This doesn’t mean to stop formal activities of love and service, but it just means to manifest love and service the way that Jesus did.