Think of the most obnoxious, mean, horrible man you know. Come on, you can do it. You know the man that you will walk to the other side of the mall to avoid? Think of the man you know, who drinks too much, yells too much and hits too much. Think of THAT man and you’re probably thinking of my neighbour.
Last night, he was verbally, if not physically abusing his girlfriend (again). He was screaming about missing car keys, swearing and yelling like he had just stepped out of Pulp Fiction a decade or two late. It was noisy and loud and adrenaline coursed through my bones like he was in my house. If I was in hers, I would have grabbed his keys and made a beeline for the door, it sounds like she hid his keys. He stopped yelling but you could hear him speaking for the next hour and a half, sounding like a radio, except that a radio actually has to stop for jingles and the news. He just droned on and on.
I was praying. Sometimes praying for peace and an end to the strife like a proper Christian should and other times just praying that God would shut his mouth like a lion in Daniel’s den. A friend phoned him at some point and wanted him to go pick him up. I prayed that he would. You see I’m not a great Christian, I seek my own comfort, more than I seek the good of others.
The guy downstairs was obviously smashed, it took him 20 minutes to get directions to a friend, (I got them the first time he repeated them…take the N1 south, turn right…). I could have gone and fetched his friend in less time then it took him to understand directions. To be honest, when he hung up the phone, I wanted the most depraved man I know to go fetch his friend and never come back. I thought, he might die in a car accident being that drunk and that angry, but I didn’t care, I just wanted it to end. I felt no love for the man with verbal diarrhoea at 2:00 in the morning.
BUT GOD DID.
And that completely blew my mind! While I was thinking that my neighbour could meet his end in a twisted piece of metal on the side of the road, God was thinking, ‘Hide the keys, hide the keys! He’s not ready to meet me yet! I love him so much…and he doesn’t know me”. I’m pretty sure the only other person (if you count God as a person) in the world who likes him, let alone loves him - his girlfriend - hid the keys*. While I was searching for earplugs to end the “Where are my keys?” rant God told me that he loved this guy.
I don’t know why God would love HIM. I don’t know how. I mean, someone like me is easy to love: I try to follow the rules. I try to love God back. I try to be good. I’m not perfect, I sin, I mess up, but at least I don’t beat defenceless people. God has to like that about me (probably doesn’t like the pride and arrogance though…) I guess, I’m trying to say that I get why God loves me but I don’t understand why God loves the most depraved, talkative man in the world (at least my world). That blows my mind.
The fact that God loves him makes Grace real to me. It tells me that there is nothing humans can do to go beyond the reach of his love. I know the bible says it, but sometimes I think, really God, really? I could do anything and you’d still love me? Last night, God told me it was true and he used the most obnoxious, mean, horrible, nasty, depraved piece of work (who God is absolutely crazy in love with the same way he is with me and you – mind blowing, right?) to do it.
When I woke up 6 hours later, the man was still talking, pausing only to take a breath and start again (can’t imagine what he was talking about could just hear the timbre of his voice rising and falling).
I asked God to shut him up.
But he didn’t.
And God reminded me that he still loves that guy.
And that blew my mind.
And God told me that he still loves me
(even though I wish people dead in the middle of the night).
AND THAT BLEW MY MIND!
*NB: I am in no way condoning domestic violence – physical, verbal, emotional or any other kind. If you are a victim of abuse I think you need to know that God loves with a mind blowing love as well! And I don’t believe he wants you stay in your situation. Visit http://www.saps.gov.za/crime_prevention/women/domestic_violence.htm or http://www.thehotline.org/. If you are an abuser then God wants you to change visit www.http://www.thehotline.org/ for some places that might be able to help you.