Thursday, January 31, 2008


"This is an important thing, which I have told many people,
and which my father told me, and which his father told him.
When you encounter another person, when you have deal-
ings with anyone at all, it is as if a question is being put to you.
So you must think, What is the Lord asking of me in this mo-
ment, in this situation? If you confront insult or antagonism,
your first impulse will be to respond in kind. But if you think,
as it were, This is an emissary sent from the Lord, and some
benefit is intended for me, first of all the occasion to
demonstrate faithfulness, the chance to show that I do in
some small degree participate in the grace that saved me,
you are free to act otherwise than as circumstances would
seem to dictate. You are free to act by your own lights. You
are freed at the same time of the impulse to hate or resent
that person. He would probably laugh at the thought that
the Lord sent him to you for your benefit (and his), but that
is the perfection of the disguise, his own ignorance of it."

from Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

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