To begin our hangout, we watched a video about a coffee shop’s reaction to a robbery. When a man stole the contents of the coffee shop’s tip jar, they decided to respond by raising food for the man. Read more here, USA Today Story: http://goo.gl/dXgJeR
All of us thought that this kind of reaction was unexpected. We expected most stores to contact the police and press charges against the thief. At that point, we came up with the generalization that nothing on the news is normal. If it was normal, then it wouldn’t be newsworthy.
We started talking about many different things like forgiveness, poverty, and charity. Many tough and perhaps unanswerable questions were discussed. For example, “how do we increase our charity without stretching ourselves too thin?” and “What would it look like if we gave up our possessions willingly?”
In the coffee shop story, the manager said the coffee shop received many displeased messages on their Facebook page of the opinion that the coffee shop is rewarding the thief for his actions by responding with this act of raising food. This brought up the question, “what is the difference between condoning and forgiving?”
We turned to Matthew 5: 38-48, where Jesus, during his Sermon on the Mount, describes how we should interact with the poor, the criminals, and our enemies. Some of these things are very hard to hear and much harder to put into practice. All the reactions Jesus tells us we should have are not the natural reactions we often have. If someone slaps us across the cheek, would we really turn the other? These reactions suggested by Jesus are not the first ones we turn to. Does this suggest that this sort of kindness is unexpected and not our first reaction? If so, how do we make kindness the first reaction?
Any other thoughts on the questions, video, or scripture used in this hangout?