Nature, weakness, and being a Christian.

The other day I was out with a friend and we were having lunch.  The waiter who came to serve us, was a bit on the shy side, and seemed to be lacking in confidence.  Unbeknownst to my friend, (or perhaps known), she began to treat the waiter poorly.  She became a bit rude, condescending, and demanding in her comportment towards him.

I reflected on this behavior afterward and noticed that it is not so uncommon as I would like to believe.  In class for example, when teaching high school students, I notice that when I come into the class “on top of things” knowing what I will be doing and how I will be doing it, (that is, feeling confident in myself), then all is well.  The students study, contribute in class, and play their part.

But when I am afraid, feeling insecure, not knowing what to do – then hell knows no fury like a group of grade 8s.

And sad to say, this is the way the world is.  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer yes.  But perhaps even worse, the strong become stronger and the weak become weaker.  Nature itself seems to be based in some way in this power driven dynamic.

If you still don’t believe me, take a good look at the weak person in your midst. I would argue that they are probably not treated by the people around them very well.  What’s more scary, you the reader are probably just as much part of the mob who treats that person poorly.

How then can we as Christians live in this kind of world?  For example to be gentle and kind, to not take revenge when insulted, to seek to love rather than to be loved, all seem to be wonderful values that don’t get you any sense of power in this world at least.  And if you don’t have power in the world, then you will literally be forgotten, ignored, or dead to the world.

This question bothers me.  On the one hand, it is good to seek after all that Christ teaches us, but on the other hand, be prepared for what the world will do to you – for where the master is, there the disciple will be as well.

Raj Vijayakumar is currently residing in Toronto and working as an assistant for L’Arche Canada.

  • Mary O’Brien
    Posted at 05:55h, 17 September Reply

    Thank You.
    This is so helpful and exactly what I needed to help me and encourage me.
    I am so grateful for your reflection.

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 10:24h, 17 September Reply

    Thank you Raj!

  • Maria Skarzynski
    Posted at 11:16h, 17 September Reply

    Thank you Raj for this most interesting read and it touches on what I have so often thought. I will double my efforts to make the forgotten person bloom.

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