One of the most challenging parts of doing ministry where I am, in an area where there are few social services reaching out to the poor, is that we happen to be one of the only churches who offer emergency assistance for the homeless and the needy. And part of the difficulty is in learning to continue loving even when the occasional person goes out of their way to take advantage of your generosity. Here's a poem/prayer I wrote after a particularly difficult interaction.
How to Be Twice Struck, and Still to Love
Lord, I have need of Thy compassion,
A heart to serve the poor.
But they, like all of us,
Are deceitful and unjust,
And my callused heart can't see beyond
Their bare mendacity of soul.
Let me see, as You do,
That vice like this is cause
For compassion, not offence,
The symptom of a brokenness
That calls for pity unchagrined.
Teach me, Lord,
How to be twice struck,
And still to love.
Note to My Readers: Due to the busyness of my summer schedule, in which I'm serving as a camp pastor on top of my normal duties, I'll be putting my ongoing Thursday and Friday series on hold until mid-August. All other days will continue to feature new content as usual, and the Thursday and Friday slots will offer devotional and theological reflections (heretofore unpublished) from my seminary years.