¨Do not be too easily shocked—vindictiveness is close to virtue, very close, just as hate is close to love. I know well that they are opposites, and yet the closest thing to love is hate, and closest to sterling justice and heroic retribution is vindictiveness.
When the lily first puts its head above the ground, you cannot tell it from an onion. When a boy in his early years shows stubbornness, you cannot tell whether he will become a man of strong determination or a bully. So, too, with “Getting even,” it can make a man a murderer or a glory to Jesus Christ! We all have that little mean streak in us. We all like to “get even,” and that is precisely why this life of John Green Hanning must be written—to show us what we can do with that urge.¨
Without a Kindle or tablet, in order to satisfy my insatiable reading needs, I go to a small lending library here in San Jose. Every time, I pull books off the shelf, look at the cover art, read the summary on back, leaf through the pages….in order to handpick the dozen books that will be my companions for the next month or two. I found this GEM of a book in November.
I know I have such a mean streak, even as I am supposed to be holy and set apart for God, and a missionary no less–sharing the love of Jesus with others! This man’s story reminds me, once again, that no matter if resentment resides deep inside of me, a life lived for Jesus Christ means I will continually lay down my desire for revenge at the cross. God’s glory MUST increase, and mine MUST decrease.
John Green Hanning’s story is one of many over the centuries–Abraham, Moses, David, Job, Hosea, Daniel, St. Stephen, St. Paul, Sta. Teresa de Avila, David Livingstone, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Pope Francis, in addition to many people who I’ve actually met!! The Bible says that these people are all witnesses to my faith journey.
As I head into a brand new school year, with growing responsibilities, I want to remember that since I’m surrounded by such a crowd of witnesses cheering me on, I can boldly throw off everything that hinders me, throw off the sinful impulses that entangle me daily, and run with perseverence the race marked out for me.
Please join me in this prayer request–not only for myself, but for the hundreds of children, teens and families that I interact with on a weekly basis in La Carpio.