“You’re in deep do-do, you know.”
It was a statement, not a question, and I resented it highly. The scruffy little twerp continued to speak. He’d walked in out of nowhere and started spouting off. He ignored my frown and the downturn of my mouth. It was like he was on a mission or something — a suicidal one, at that. I was seriously considering passing him the pills, the knife, the gun, the rope — whatever his method of choice was.
“Look, Ed, I’m telling you the truth here, like it or not. You’ve gotten away with abusing your brother all these years. No more, end of story, tout fait, se acabó, arrivederci, game over.”
“Hey, look, Jake started it!” I felt driven to defend myself. Why should I get punished for something someone else had done? Besides, it was ancient history — more than a thousand years worth of history.
As if he were reading my mind, the little man responded.
“Maybe so, but he was supposedly forgiven back then, wasn’t he? No harm, no foul; everybody go their separate ways and live happily ever after, you in your small corner and him in his. Wasn’t that the way it was supposed to be?”
“Well, yah. I guess.” That had been the idea, sort of.
“So, how come you wouldn’t let his family cross your property that time? It would have saved them a lot of grief. But no, you had to deny them safe passage. You can’t tell me your people weren’t holding a grudge! Forgiven and forgotten? I don’t think so, and neither does the Boss!”
I had to admit he had a point there.
“And where were you when Jake’s kids were being bullied by all the neighbourhood gangs? You just sat there and watched. Did you enjoy the show?”
That wasn’t fair. What did the guy want? I had my own family to take care of. My momma didn’t raise no fools stupid enough to poke a hornet’s nest with a stick — not for anybody! However, I decided to keep my mouth shut.
“Ah, you aren’t denying it, are you? So you left your own brother’s kin out there to get tromped on, chewed up and spit out! Nice. Well, just so’s you know; what you let happen to them is exactly what’s going to happen to you.”
“Now wait a minute!” I couldn’t contain myself. “Just who do you think you are, coming here and threatening me?”
He didn’t answer that question. Nevertheless, the look he gave me was direct, and deep. It felt like flame igniting the dry tinder of my soul. I could only hope he didn’t know the rest of the story.
“And as if that wasn’t enough …”
Curses, he did know the rest!
“… you not only sat by and watched, you actually helped those gang bangers beat up on your little brother …”
“He wasn’t so little, only a few minutes younger than me!” The protest was weak, I admit. The pipsqueak seemed to be growing by the second. I could feel myself shrinking as he piled on the bricks that I instinctively knew could seal my tomb.
“What was it? Pride? You couldn’t bend a little to lend a helping hand? Were you afraid someone was going to think you were a pushover, a doormat, a mouse? Well, it turns out to have been an expensive lapse in judgment and charity. You didn’t hold out a hand to your brother and now no one is going to hold out a hand to you.”
I pulled myself together for one last volley. Surely, we could negotiate, compromise, come to an agreement of some sort.
“Hey, look, this was all a misunderstanding. Maybe I can make up for it …”
“Not to worry, you’ll make it up all right. The Boss is going to look after it personally. What He restores to them, He’ll take from you. Consider it vicarious giving.”
I consoled myself with the fact that this man had come alone. No armies had accompanied him, not even a servant stood by his side. What harm could he do me? Words couldn’t hurt, at least not much. What he said might be true, but he had nothing with which to back up his threats. So, I challenged him once more.
“Just who did you say you were again?”
“The name’s Obadiah, and this is the vision the Lord God Almighty gave me about you, Edom.”
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