taking sides

I don’t like sides. I don’t like having to decide which team to be on. I don’t like being forced to be with one group or the other.

That’s why I want to avoid Matthew 13: 11-17.

Because I am working our way through Matthew, writing 300 words a day about following Jesus, I consider whether to discuss each section. Part of the decisionmaking process is a simple question:  “Is this something I don’t want to write about?”

If the answer is, “I don’t want to,” it means that I have to address it. I can’t hide from it.

That is the case with this passage. Jesus is saying that some people will understand and some won’t. Further, he is saying that some people will be given understanding and some won’t.

This is difficult. It feels not fair.

Theologians have debated the amount God gets to decide and the amount we get to decide.  For centuries. And there are sides. And it is hard to take sides. And non-theologians look at the words and try to understand how fair it is that God gets to decide who will understand and who won’t. And it is hard to take sides.

But what if we don’t have to take sides? What if Jesus is describing what we all know to be true?

That no matter how hard you try to explain math to someone who has decided that they can’t understand, they won’t get it.

That no matter how much you explain the safety rigging for the trapeze to someone who doesn’t trust it, they won’t go up.

That no matter how much food you offer to someone with their mouth clamped shut, they won’t be nourished.

And they fail the test and don’t see the heights.

And the food eventually will be taken away.