Thursday, July 08, 2010

Mom, May I Borrow Your Purple Sweater? - den Boer

“Mom, may I borrow your purple sweater?”

“Why not? You’re not wearing it. I need something that looks good with this. You should let me borrow it. My sweater is in the hamper and I need a sweater. This is stupid. Why are we arguing about this?”
“I’m not arguing. I said ‘no.’”
“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:42 NIV
Where does that verse leave me? My purple sweater was a gift. I wear it when I want to feel special. My daughter would simply wear it out.
What’s that hollow sound?
Marian den Boer is an author and speaker who lives in Hamilton, Ontario. Visit her at Blooming, This Pilgrim's Progress.


Peter Black said...

Short, sharp, and a very human scenario. You highlight the kind of collision we may experience between the words of Jesus and our everyday lives.
Mind you, I raised no daughters, and none of my three sons would have any ambition to wear MY clothes, so I'm outside of the illustration - although I've inherited and worn some of theirs! Hmm. :)

Marian said...

The question remains. Should I have lent her my sweater? Is that part of taking up my cross? Or, is there a certain duty as a parent that exempts me? I mean as a parent it is my duty to train up a child in the way she should go.

Peter Black said...

My guess is that some folk would resort to WWJD?
But, do we in fact know what Jesus would do? Taking his words at face value, sure, He would give / loan the sweater.

However, the need for teaching responsibility can provide a modifying influence on our decison-making and course of action, where that plays into the situation.

Yet, on the other hand, if your motivation to deny your daughter's use was more focused on you and your personal desire to feel special (and for that to be potentially extended through the prolonged preservation of the sweater), the teaching responsibility factor would be that much less valid.

We can be sure that Jesus would never have invalidated His course of action, or His fulfilling of a responsibiity in anything, by a personal appeal to His own ego.

Let's suggest that your answer lies in your self-knowledge of why you would withold the use of the sweater to your daughter.
Even if you cleared yourself of the 'special you' ego thing, you might still have good reason to disallow her the use of the sweater, especially if she has been inclined to show lack of care for other people's property.

The denial of use to her may be an appropriate measure in helping her deal with this in her life, and therefore be a part of your fulfilling your "training up a child ..." responsibility.
Thanks for the challenge, Marian! :)

Anonymous said...

Personally I feel this is a moot point. The sweater was a gift from two of your daughters. As such, it does not fall into the loan-to-daughters-on-demand category. Plus you found the sweater yourself and it is a good buy, something that so rarely happens, it is one of those mini-miracles when it does... In other words, I don't think Jesus cares about this issue, except as it pertains to the state of all- women-in-this-story's hearts.

Anonymous Daughter of Author

Peter Black said...

Thank you, Anonymous Daughter, for your straight-to-the-point, simple and uncomplicated perspective. My wife may well have given such a succinct response, too! :)

Trust Yours Truly to make a mountain out of the molehill; it comes easy to me. Ah, but I enjoyed the article, and enjoyed sinking my teeth into it too.

Anonymous said...

Normally I can make things much more complicated too. Ethical issues are complex, and interpreting how to follow Jesus' commands in the 21st century requires some creativity, clear thinking, and the Holy Spirit's guidance. The Holy Spirit is the essential guide, and the Bible is a highly useful guide-book. I don't think you made a mountain out of a molehill... I think you were trying to think biblically and that's always a good thing. Plus maybe what my mom was trying to get up is that she sensed her own heart was not right... and that goes much deeper than this simple scenario.

Peter Black said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you for your wise, balanced, and generous response.
I make the following comments with the thought that you are a young person. As I read your most recent comment a statement from the Messianic Psa. 110:3 came to mind:
"... Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you [Messiah / Christ] will receive the dew of your youth." You seem really concerned that Biblical truth and its practical application in relation to one's life as a Christ-follower, be authentically applied.
Very refreshing!
And I'm also reminded of the message from Joel 2 and Acts 2 that God would pour of his Spirit in the latter times on people at every station in life, on the old and the young of both genders, and that they would prophesy / speak forth in the name of the Lord.
Thank you for doing that.
May the blessing of the Lord rest on your life, always.

Marian said...

Hi Peter,

I've been away the weekend and came back to this dialogue between you and my daughter. I really appreciate your second comment-the one you later refer to as "a mountain out of a molehill." You address my question precisely and you are right: the whole thing depends on my motive which is mixed and difficult to unravel.

Anonymous Daughter,
You are right, the state of our hearts is the only issue. And, by the way, thanks for the sweater. I totally appreciate it, although lately the weather has been too hot to wear it.

Anonymous said...

You're welcome Peter and thanks for your encouraging words! I think you must be a little like Barnabas... with the gift of encouragement.
And Mom I agree that Peter's reply to your question was insightful and demonstrates wisdom; motives tend to be mixed and the exercise of unraveling them can seem futile. I think it is worth considering them though, and taking a step back sometimes to allow God to search you, test you, and see if there is anything offensive way in you, as you continue on your spiritual journey. You're welcome for the sweater Mom. It looks really nice on you!

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