It’s the day after Christmas. The new phone case I got from my brother is on my phone, the new peacoat and scarf I got from my mom & dad are on the back of my chair, the new book on the music of hymns which a mentor and friend gave me is on my shelf and I’m making good progress on a book about the Eucharist.

What does it mean to be reasonable? Google’s definition says,

(of a person) having sound judgment; fair and sensible.

That seems fairly straightforward…”fair and sensible.”

What happens when someone you know holds the opinion that they are, in fact, reasonable–when in truth, they are not? Is it loving to confront them? How often? To simply navigate the situation so that the fewest people are hurt?

What happens when the person accuses you of upsetting the way things are due to the fact that you’ve sought advice and/or counseling about them in the past? How does one love that person well?

Put on your happy face. Now.

What about when there’s emotional manipulation? What about when they push all of your buttons and say you have said things or think things that you’ve never said? What about when they act offended that you get angry at being misrepresented? How much anger is appropriate and loving? What about when that person does not see how much damage they’ve done and how much damage they continue to do?

What about when they tell you they “wish you were normal” and that you could “just wake up to all the pretty girls who are at your school”? What about when they want you to watch Duck Dynasty the next day with them? (Yes. This really happened.)

How does one not become embittered? I want to love this person. I want to have a real relationship with them. At what point does one say, “No, I want that but I can’t have it–not right now, at least?”

I pray. I seek counsel. I’ve got a counselor who is a godly man. I have grown up with the “shake it off” mentality and mostly what I’ve seen it produce is an environment where such carnage is allowed to flourish…so if you want to post a “man-up” comment, keep it to yourself.

I’m asking an intensely emotional and theological question here, folks: how does one follow the commandment to love one’s parents, family, and associates well when they are not lovable?

I am at a loss right now. This is all so far from reasonable I’m not sure how it ever could’ve been in the same zip code as what is going on.

It probably never was.

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