Monday, February 2, 2009

Giving and Receiving in the Didache

I was thinking of avoiding people who hurt you in any way this morning. Usually they do it without meaning to. But in the end, the hurt is received, and it is not pleasant. You may have a certain level of tolerance for being hurt. A threshold for pain. Anything bellow that level is fine, you can take it. But with time, either that threshold becomes lower, or the hurt being received becomes higher, and they meet in the middle, and you can't endure it, you can't take it. You WANT to endure it, because enduring it would be good. But your knees simply buckle from underneath you and you fall. Or perhaps not yet, they just threaten to fall.

And then your alarm goes off. You have to protect yourself from more hurt, otherwise the next hit will surely mean you WILL fall. And you don't want to fall. Falling is the most shameful thing that could happen. So what to do? if you tried returning hurt back, you would know how useless and bad that was. It only breeds regret. And regret makes you hate yourself for being not wise enough.. to simply just.. avoid.

If you simply want to avoid hurt, you just stop receiving from people. You close the door shut, to the good as well as the bad. And you definitely never ask to receive.

As I was pondering all this, this morning I was researching old texts from the Bible (I needed information talking to a christian who was curious about Islam), and I came to hear of the "Didache", it's a text believed to have been written in greek by early 100-200 A.D. christians concerning the newly converted, and as I read into it, I found this piece (what's between parentheses are my comments):

Happy is he who gives according to the commandment, for he is guiltless. (Generousity)
Woe to him who receives; (The Warning)
for if one receives who has need, he is guiltless;
but he who receives not having need shall pay the penalty, why he received and for what. (The Accounting and the Reckoning)
And coming into confinement, he shall be examined concerning the things which he has done, and he shall not escape from there until he pays back the last penny.
And also concerning this, it has been said,
Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give. (The Responsibility and Care in Helping those who Deserve it)

What struck me was the responsibility tied with receiving. You can't get anything completely for free. If someone is kind to you now.. you need to be careful of the hurt that might come later.. if for no other reason that they feel entitled to.


sadia said...

hurting people is just not right. the one receiving the grief shouldn't be the one trying to waste time, thinking of ways to protect himself, but the one who's hurting others should check himself. it's weird how we take other people's bad behaviour sitting down, how its just you know what i mean. gosh..i hope i havent completely missed the mark...feeling kinda dumb today. =S

Manutdfanatic said...

I never cease to learn when I'm reading this blog.

Oh, and think, too! :)

Amethyst said...

Butterfly Award:)

falantan said...

Wow I'm honored! what's that award for anyway??