Monday, May 12, 2008

More on Parables

I seem to have a problem with parables. I'm never quite sure to which character I'm supposed to relate. For years I had a problem with the parable of the Prodigal's Son. I kept relating to much to wrong brother.
In our deacon's quorum lesson yesterday a friend of mine taught a great lesson on forgiveness. The lesson book had a story about a group of people that were hiking in Arizona. One of the hikers gets bitten by a rattlesnake. The rest decide to hunt down and kill the snake. In the mean time the victim hasn't been treated and the poison is infiltrating her leg. By the time her friends come back with the dead snake her leg is so bad that it eventually had to be amputated. Their act of vengeance against the snake had cost their friend her leg. If they had focused on treating the problem, rather that revenge, her leg may have been saved.
I recognize the desired perspective of the story is that we look through the eyes of one of the friends. How should I respond when I am given a choice between helping another and seeking revenge. If they had forgiven the snake the problem would have not been allowed to reach the point of losing a limb.
Now comes my perspective problem. After a little thinking I found myself relating to the girl who lost her leg. I've been in situations before where something happened beyond my control and I suffered the results of the inaction or mis-action of others.
I've also been in a few situations where I was the snake. Although I may have done something wrong from the hiker's perspective I was just protecting myself and now I can't seem to get a break.
The intended lesson of forgiveness is not lost on me. I can just see a lot of value in trying to relate to all of the characters in parables and not just the prime character.

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