A pair of new ‘smart phones’ came into our lives this week, and the reviews are decidedly mixed.
Our reaction has a lot to do with that word ‘pair’. I wasn’t actually in the market for a new phone, you see, when I accompanied my dear wife to the store. In fact, neither of us was looking to upgrade. The trip started out as a repair mission, to see what the backroom techs could do to make Gerri’s phone behave more reliably.
The diagnosis: A failing battery.
Suggested course of treatment: Send it away for 5 to 7 days, to be gutted…and perhaps coax another year or two of service life out of the device.
I’m sure there’s a spiritual lesson to be learned in the fact that neither of us could countenance a 5-to-7 day separation from a smart phone. (Can you say ‘addiction’?) In any event, the in-store conversation quickly shifted from ‘repair’ to ‘replacement’. And of course, there was a special promotion available—this month only!—that would allow us to get two new smart phones for the price of one.
So all of a sudden it seemed dumb for me not to want a new smart phone. And perhaps predictably, that’s when the real fun began…as the ‘upgrade’ process led us down a rabbit hole of data transfers and software-version migrations. The net-net result: A sleek new phone in my hands…that has roughly 5,500 fewer songs available for my listening pleasure.
These are digital audio files that I own, mind you. But because my desktop computer is an older model, it won’t talk nicely to my brand new smart phone. Bottom line: If I want my new phone to be as musically clever as my previous phone, then I need to upgrade to a new computer. All of which, I’ve noticed, tends to stir up a bit of bile in my spirit…vitriol and venom, directed toward the geniuses at a company named after the fruit often associated with Original Sin.
Not a healthy reaction, I suppose. In fact, on multiple occasions over the past several days my dear wife has suggested a much wiser spiritual course: ‘Let it go.’
And in Sunday’s gospel passage, I hear confirmation of her Christ-like wisdom. Jesus warns us against dwelling on the hurts and injustices we experience.
You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles.
This is tough stuff coming from Jesus’ lips. It’s among the most challenging messages we encounter in the pages of the gospels. It’s almost like an error-message – one you’d just as soon ‘dismiss’ as quickly as it appears on the computer screen.
But Jesus tends not to let us off the hook quite so easily. Annoying, isn’t it: He confronts our reluctant hearts. He insists we consider the idea that it’s time for an upgrade.
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.