9/10/11 Deuteronomy 22:1-4
We are creatures who are amazingly good at self-deception.
Even now, after all this time, at this age, right now.
God knows this -- it's in our nature.
Remember when you were 14 and you borrowed your friend's sweater to wear because it was perfect with your new outfit and then she forgot to ask for it back and slowly you believed that she didn't want it back, that it was yours, that she gave it to you?
Yeah. Like that.
Or when you had a fight with a loved one and exchanged harsh words that may have been true but were really unnecessary to say, except to hurt them because you were angry or hurt or defensive?
Yeah. Like that.
Or that bill that needed to be paid but you didn't get the invoice so you rationalized that since they forgot to send the bill you really didn't need to pay it -- regardless of whether or not you had the money?
We all do it. But that sheep that is your neighbor's -- whether you know him or not -- belongs to God. As does your neighbor. As do you and your friends and family who are all following their own path.
Reminder: Do not deceive yourself about who you are, no matter how the moment unfolds. Are you serving yourself or are you serving God?
The loopholes of temptation, of judgment, unkindness, greed, laziness, are always there. For us all.
When we take them, we deceive ourselves, we forget who we really are -- creatures of God, of the Universe, of the Creator of this crazy world. We are building a legacy of deeds, acts of kindness, moments of truth to follow like breadcrumbs along whatever path we follow. In this way, we honor the fullness of the creatures we can be, the beings of light, the bearers of joy and goodness, walking ourselves about our daily lives, place to place, moment to moment.
So when your neighbor, a stranger, knocks on your door and asks for his sheep back, no matter how much you may want to, no matter how difficult it is to give it up, do not disappear yourself. It's probably best to look him in the eye and humbly say, "I was keeping it for you. I treated your sheep well, as I know you would do for me." and give it back.