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Thievery and New Friends

May 19, 2010

Matthew 5:40//And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

Sunday afternoon some friends at church met a nice man named Fred when he stole some stuff from them.

Husband noticed someone rummaging in the back of John and De’Reen’s van after church on Sunday. The guy took off on a bicycle. Husband followed him for a bit, but couldn’t get him to stop and talk to him. Obviously.

De’Reen got in her van and found nothing missing except two canvass shopping bags. Their contents were dumped out, and just the bags were missing. So she got in the van and went to find the guy, which she did, shortly.

She met him under a couple trees where he was busy rearranging his things between bags to make use of his new ones.

De’Reen asked the man if he’d taken the bags from her car.

He sheepishly admitted that he had.

She asked if he’d taken anything else.

He said he had not.

She asked if he needed more bags.

He didn’t say anything for a minute.

I wasn’t present for the conversation, so I won’t attempt to reconstruct it. She asked if there was anything else he needed – bags, food, etc. He was astonished that she would offer, and swore he’d never done anything like this before. De’Reen told him it was forgiven, and asked again if there was anything he needed.

He took some of the groceries she had from the church’s food pantry, and told him he could come back next Sunday if he needed more. She asked him his name.


“Fred,” she answered, “I’m De’Reen.”

“Why would you tell me your name?”

She assured him that no one was mad at him, and he would be more than welcome next Sunday. Husband caught up with him later and gave him his pocket knife and a flashlight. Fred nearly cried.

When Jesus says weird things like, “Give to those who would sue you and take away your things,” or “When someone attacks you, don’t fight back,” we think it’s really difficult. Or crazy. Or unsafe.

I think Jesus sees people differently than we do.

We assume that if we turn the other cheek, it will get hit too. That if we offer more than someone tries to steal, they’ll take it all. That if we go the extra mile, they’ll take advantage of us.

And maybe a few will. But maybe others are just really down on their luck. Maybe others don’t know how else to respond to a situation but with violence. And maybe when they see a that someone is willing to help, or is willing to show them a better way, their hearts will change. Maybe they won’t take advantage.

Maybe they’ll just cry a little and say Thank you.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2010 8:40 pm

    As I was reading this, my husband asked me what I was reading. I said, “My friend’s blog. Some people from her church got their car broken in to. All he took were some canvas bags.” He assumed I meant the bags were full when they were stolen…without really listening to the rest of what I’d said, he started ranting about how awful it is when you get your car broken in to (it has happened to us at least 3 times in the last 5 years).

    I think that perfectly displays the negative outlook that most people have. And, to be honest, I don’t know if I could have been quite as kind as your friends were. Your point is well made, and it gave me a reason to self-reflect a bit. Thanks. <3

    • Lex permalink
      May 20, 2010 10:14 am

      I can imagine it might be more difficult after being the victims of repeated break-ins. :)

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