Negotiating is an art. Understanding what someone is saying to you involves every sense the body has, knowledge of local culture and nuances, and a willingness to walk away from the deal. Most tourists fail to engage with every sense, they don’t know what they don’t know, and their attitude is one of wanting to buy something, anything! Watching the process from a short distance brings a unique kind of humor. Something as simple as what do words mean takes on all kinds of twists and turns! I want to say that you could be here and trust the process, but this isn’t the case. Nothing is quite as it appears. Nothing is as simple. Nothing is as obvious.
Initially my assessment appeared cynical. Surely there is someone who could be trusted. If not a shopkeeper, then surely one of one’s colleagues could be one of the trusted. If not a colleague, then we could count on a teammate. It is the same scenario which played out in Jesus’ inner circle years ago. An expensive gift fell into the argument over how to use money. The steward making the argument “said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.” (John 12.6) Nobody knew who to trust, how to understand.
I would like to suggest worrying about this is a waste of time. Nothing is as it seems. We make not like it but this is the life we have. There is good news in this though it is often lost. While relationships and words may seem murky and sleazy, absolute truth waits patiently. The motives of those we engage with may not be trusted, compassion and love live on. We, you and I, have a God who cares passionately, resolutely, and eternally about our future, happiness, and potential. Divinity’s motive is simple, pure, absolute love. No negotiations required.
Today will be full of negotiations. Yet I start knowing there is one less than I initially thought.
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