There’s no such thing as a good drug-dealer, or so they say.  It’s easy to forget this though when one becomes a friend—a lover.  It’s actually quite hard to delineate—the good things a bad person does, the bad things a good person does.  It’s hard to draw the line of who to accept as good in your life and who’s bad.  For many good people are bad for you, and someone you term as bad can bring good things in your life, in the very fact you don’t judge them as good or bad—when you love them anyway.  For instance, Jeremy’s mother—a staunch Southern Baptist—wasn’t what I’d call good for Jeremy.  She wasn’t a good mother.  Though she gave to the church and performed charitable acts.  For it’s not the acts themselves that make you feel someone is good.  Sometimes actions don’t speak louder than words.  Sometimes you sense strings attached, false motives—that idea of meaning in closure we already talked about.  Jeremy always felt like he had to win his mother’s love, and he winced at her harshness every time she was severe in judging him in the light of her gospel.  He never felt good enough, and feeling good goes a long way in your judgment of what is good.  If you do something good because you expect good things in return it sort of takes the good out of it.  That’s why there’s a stigma with church people, some of the show of them at least.  You get a sense of the disingenuous that disappears when someone people think is bad does a good turn.  It’s what you feel when a person feeds you, for a soup kitchen of the Salvation Army can make you feel shameful, but when a drug addict or gang member takes you in and feeds and clothes you the perspective becomes slanted.  For some reason you trust it more—it feels right—and you’re less likely to question motives, especially if they ask for nothing in return, not even the granting of small favors, when all they want is your friendship.  When a Christian does something for you you wonder if they’re doing it just to be Christian, but when a bum off the street shares his bottle with you you’ve found a brother.  And this is strange—that feeling of kinship.  We feel more akin to a wrong-doer than a so-called do-right.  Our compulsion is to hang out in the tents of the wicked rather than be doorkeepers into God’s temple.  We feel honest when others would say we are wrong, and doubts of ourselves only appear when someone slaps us on the back for our attempts at a good deed.

Maybe it’s trick—I don’t know.  How evil seems honest, and trying to be good just makes you feel like a liar.  Maybe you just need to take those first few steps in the right direction to see beyond this illusion, an illusion that seems real in our emotional response to this world and how it seems to work—the natural laws of it.  But what really is the illusion?  Fire is real.  And do you burn when you become as the fire—the laws that govern it—doing as it wants?  Does a fire know that it’s burning?  Or does only what it burns know that?  Bethany felt burned in how her relationship with Jeremy Bloodwood ended.  His mother making her feel like she should feel bad about herself.  That judgment leading to another judgment of what judgment brings, and how those that judge really shouldn’t have the favor of God.  Because of how they make others feel, and all that they do in the name of charity becomes as filthy rags—what they really clothe the subjects of their charity with in their condescending behavior, in their point of view blatantly apparent to their charitable subjects.  And I’m not saying give your brother a bottle, but if someone is really your brother, your sister,  what you give them was never really yours to give, and this is the point of view you should have so as not to shame your brother, your sister.  Maybe that’s why the wicked win, why they win so often in winning hearts and minds.  Why the righteous lose because of the righteousness.  For the righteous are judged by faith, a faith not judged by the illusions very real in this world—the clothing you give off your back, the soup spoon-fed to the sick, your attention to the lonely and downtrodden.  Your faith is your faith, and for it not to be judged by other men, your faith should not be in what you do in this world—that is material, bad faith—your faith should inspire faith, the good faith of truly making others feel loved.  And if you don’t do that, the drug dealer will win over the pastor of a church every time.

Denny was a drug dealer, but he was in all-around good guy.  He made others laugh.  He made his customers feel special, not guilty for what they wanted of him.  He made Bethany feel special, and it’s funny how they met, how he came to town, for it was a Bloodwood again.  Not Jeremy—that part of her life was over even if she didn’t feel like she got the closure she wanted.  It was William, her uncle—Bridgette, her grandmother’s son.  And it all started with Sissy Walker’s bible—the weed she hid in it…

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