You know what I’ve realized? I kind of despise Ararararararagi, the protagonist from Bakemonogatari.
I already mentioned how, out of his own choice, he puts himself into tempting situations. But perhaps more to the point, Araragi is selfish and blind. Though Senjougahara is anything but perfect (STAPLE!), she’s still a multi-layered, beautiful character who loves him.
So what does Araragi do with that knowledge? He continues to see and, further, flirt with many of the girls in his life, including those that are purposely pursuing him.
I’m reminded of a parable that I’ll paraphrase here (Matthew 18:21-35). A businessman was settling his accounts and a man who owed him a ton of money was brought in to pay his loan. Unable to do so, the businessman decided to make good on the consequences of his contract and sell both the man and his family into slavery. The man begged and pleaded, and moved by it, the businessman forgave him. Just like that, the debt was erased.
Feeling pretty good about himself, the man ran into another who owed him a much smaller debt. Yet, the forgiven man shoved, pushed, and choked him, asking for his money. Unable to afford it, this debtor was thrown in prison when reported by the man. The businessman’s outraged servants reported the goings-on to their master, who was stunned at the man’s hypocrisy. Justly, he had the man thrown into jail until the debt was repaid.
We are too often blind to the wonderful things we’ve received, living a life of ungrace. For me, I’ve been blessed with wonderful, obedient, funny, and outrageous children. And yet, I harp on them a lot, expecting so much when who they are is already more than enough.
This is a problem of the heart. God has offered us complete forgiveness for our faults – and more than that, He provides this forgiveness through the very shedding of His blood. But our everyday response is…nothing. We continue to be stubborn, prideful, vengeful, and petty, as if receiving God’s grace (if we are believers) is something that never even happened.
We act like Araragi-kun – characters in an anime that look that gift horse in the mouth, living as if we haven’t received a tremendous gift.
Very quickly, let me relate one more parable (Matthew 13:44). A man found a pirate chest (<– the pirates are my addition) full of gold in a field. He went home and sold his meager possessions to purchase the field, which was worth far more than anything he had.
That should be our response. When we receive a gift as beautiful and powerful as grace, we should respond with everything – a complete change of our lives. Otherwise, we are cheapening grace.
And it begs the question – like Araragi, do we even know how blessed we are?