Here's a puzzle in Christian charity for you:
Somebody has been unfairly short, sharp and crabby to me. Trying to emulate my patron saint, I've tried to speak mildly and kindly in return, with some success.
At the same time, I have piles of kind things I have done for this person, that I think they've forgotten were coming, ready to unload over the weekend. That will chap their hide big time and will probably make them even sharper and crabbier in guilt and retaliation. Humanly speaking, it also won't hurt my ego any to be the giver of so many good deeds, but since I didn't set up the situation, I can give them freely and cheerfully and step back and watch the effect. Right? Wrong?
Somewhere in there is sin.
I don't know how to change this pattern. I am tempted to hold back the good deeds, so that the bad behavior can be ignored, passed by without my giving in to returning bite for bite. But shouldn't I be able to give what I already had ready to give? How can I avoid the smugness that will come with the giving?
Solve that, my friends!
The Great War, Vol 1, Chapte 7-3
46 minutes ago