If you've ever had something taken from you, you know it can leave a bitter taste in your mouth. A few years ago when I was teaching 8th grade language arts, I entered my classroom one morning to see that it had been ransacked. My hidden stash of candy and other prizes was gone, and items from my desk had also disappeared. There's an eerie anger when you realize someone has trespassed and taken things that belong to you. In the case above, two students decided to sneak into the school after hours, stealing items from several classrooms.
This morning as we were leaving for church, I looked out the window and noticed that our son's swing was gone. I ran outside to see if it had merely fallen, and all that remained was the rope hanging from the tree. What a way to head to church! I was frustrated and indignant (Who would steal from a baby?), my mind racing with when it happened, who did it, etc.--not the best attitude to bring to worship.
During the service we sang this simple, profound refrain:
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy on me.
And it all makes me wonder: what is an appropriate response--what is a Christ-like response--in this situation? Do I let it go, trusting that the swing will now provide another child with joyful fun? Do I actively search for the swing, confront if necessary and bring "justice"?
I don't want to be petty, and the monetary value of the stolen item is not high, but it's the principle of it. I'd love to hear your thoughts.