Tonight we were discussing Chapter 3 of The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. In this chapter the author talks about the “table fellowship” of Jesus. Jesus shares his friendship with sinners and other rabble.
Then we began talking about what we do.
There are some people we all know that are not very lovable. They are not lovable because they are manipulative, have addictions problems, mental health issues on top of this and a host of other problems that make them less than desirable to hang around with. Most of us have been targeted by the persons in question. Most of the time they want to be bailed out of some situation they have gotten themselves into.
We discussed together what should be the loving reaction when we are accosted by such people. We all have people like this in our personal lives and among our mutual acquaintances. We do know that we are called to be loving. How to be loving is the dilemma we face. Sometimes the love needed is our ability to set limits, to be fairly tough in our expectations. It is easier to just give them a handout so they will get out of our lives. But it is not loving to let someone manipulate us into supporting their bad habits.
Maybe when we let them manipulate us we are in effect saying “there is no hope for you so there is no use working on those bad habits” So we take the easiest way or the quickest way out of the situation to get on with our lives.
I suspect we fall far short of what is really needed on our parts to be loving. That could take a big chunk of time and effort; no quick fix. Some of these people need more time and commitment than we have. Would Jesus in our places have limited his involvement with them?
So are we just rationalizing the fact that we fail miserably at caring for people or what?