Shaking the dust off our shoes

dust off your feet.jpg

Matthew 10

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions…As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.

I believe the key verses in this text are: If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. My own interpretation from these words inform the way I interact with everyone I meet. I assume each encounter will be positive. I seek to welcome and hope to be welcomed in return. However, if I am not welcomed I seek no revenge or punishment, I do not wish to spend a minute of time making judgment. I simply shake the dust off my feet and head in a new direction. There are plenty of “fish in the sea”, there are many new opportunities for me to share deep conversation, having a meaningful relationship, find community. Let me make an important distinction. I do not like yes-people, I am never looking for people to agree with me, securing a safe bubble of like-minded opinion. No thank you! That is not how I learn or grow.

But there is a world of difference between one who disagrees with you and one who extends no hospitality or respect. Having been received with no regard to my presence and offering I see no reason for the relationship to continue any further. I leave. In working relationships where I feel disrespected or taken advantage of I often have no choice but to stay but when the time comes to leave the exit is quick and without fanfare or false sentiment. There have been times when I left a job only to have co-workers upset I said nothing, offered nothing and walked out the door. I do wish everyone the very best in the future. But beyond that I see no need to pretend.

I am someone who never loses my temper and generally will do whatever is asked of me. I will speak up and make my positions clear. But if I feel others are disrespecting me or taking advantage of me I will know what when the time comes to leave I will do so with all due haste. I am not angry or resentment or in grievance mode. Rather the haste of my exit has everything to do with the certain knowledge there are people on the other side of that door eager to be in relationship with me. No need to ponder and stew, get on with my life and the journey that lies ahead. Those whom I feel have been unfair are no longer my concern, I let it go and move on.

I hope they forgive me of my wrongdoing. I am no angel and I have plenty of faults. I know others make mistakes and I offer forgiveness to them as I hope they will extend this spirit to me. And I usually forget, forget in the sense there is no emotion attached to the memory. But in another way I never forget, not because I am angry or hurt or resentful but instead I know that if I allow this cycle, this pattern, to continue it is now my fault for permitting the disrespect and being taken for granted to continue. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…” So the stuff I do not forget remains only to remind me that this relationship will not work and it is time to let go, for them and for me. There are “plenty of fish in the sea” for all of us.

No sandals for me, yuck! But with my shoes there is no dust that settles. Moving on…Life is too short. I want to be happy.