loving the cleaner

I don’t usually devote much time to reading articles about how to treat domestic staff but I found this one interesting. Firstly because it describes exactly what I would do if I had a cleaner - clean before they come, gesture vaguely about what you want them to do and never complain  - it’s the British way! Secondly, it describes an interesting dilemma, a cleaner bringing stories of personal difficulties and asking for money. Is it genuine or is it a con? What should Tessa Boase (the author) do? Has she already done too much?

People do try to rip other people off and, as a result, we are often unsure whether to help. As a Christian, my response should be to love the person. I have been loved by God even though I don’t deserve it and so the motives of the person should not affect my love towards them. If mercy is earned, then it’s no longer mercy.

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

    “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

(Luke 6:27-36 ESV)

What that love and mercy looks like depends on the situation. I’m wrong if I think that just handing out cash over and over again is the merciful or loving thing to do. That’s attempting detached love, mercy outside of a relationship, which is impossible. To really love that person I’ve got to really know them. From there it will be a bit clearer whether it’s best to give the money or withhold it but, either way, the love does not stop after that decision. Keep employing the cleaner or stop if that’s the best thing to do, but the love does not end there. As Boase says, “I can’t dump her”.

I have betrayed my relationship with God, but He doesn’t dump me. He pursues me in love. Sometimes that love looks like meeting my practical needs, often it seems uncomfortable at the time as He draws me to Himself. Whatever He does, He does out of love, He is more committed to my good than I am, and that good news enables me to treat others in a similar way.