Your Life Is In This Story

Your life is in this story

Different religions and culture have their own unique stories and teachings that convey moral, ethical, and spiritual lessons. These often-present moral dilemmas that lead us far beyond literal limitations, enabling us to dive deep within, confront our own true selves and return with invaluable pearls.

The story that I’m sharing, is found only in the Bible. The lessons it teaches are taught through other stories in every culture. What is unique is the story, not the teachings itself.

Amongst other things, it teaches the importance of wisdom and discernment. Too many of us buy into falsehood, because we want to be “loyal” to a friend, and compromise our own inner voice, or conscience, to retain the friendship.

It displays the consequences of falsehood and deceit. How a false claim can have negative effects on individuals and communities …often simply paralysing interactions because no one can accurately distinguish between right and wrong, and those who could bought into the lie.

The story also emphasises the need to protect the innocent and vulnerable, symbolised by the baby. It encourages individuals to stand up for justice, and advocate for those who cannot defend themselves.

The story: Two prostitutes come to King Solomon seeking justice.

Then two harlots came to the king and stood before him. One woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. Then on the third day after I was delivered, this woman also gave birth; and we were alone; there was no one else with us in the house, only we two were in the house. And this woman’s son died in the night because she lay on it.  And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while I slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead son in my bosom.

“When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, it was dead; but when I looked at it closely in the morning, behold, it was not the child that I had borne.”  But the other woman said, “No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine.” Thus, they spoke before the king.

Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; and the other says, ‘No, but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.’” And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So, a sword was brought before the king. And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.”

Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means slay it.” 

But the other said, “It shall be neither mine nor yours; divide it.” 

Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means slay it; she is its mother.”

In every conflict we need wisdom and discernment to see who displays a self-centred, and/or selfish attitude that prioritises personal gain, and disregards the needs and well-being of others, versus whose words and actions tend towards selflessness and sacrificial love.

It’s generally not about one person loving “more”, or “less” than another.

To offer another quick analogy - When there is a fire some people correctly turn on the hose and direct it towards the object on fire. Others (foolishly no doubt) direct the hose onto themselves so that the fire doesn’t harm them. 

Similarly with love. It is very often misdirected. 

What is most needed in love - for it to be genuinely love - is that it be sacrificial. That is the direction of the hose that love points. 

If love is protecting the self, then it is deluded.

Doing the right thing needs love to be directed in the right way. Love directed towards self, demands that others pay the price. It creates havoc, confusion, and pain for all.

The baby can also symbolise the soul and spiritual life of an individual, a relationship, a marriage, a family, and a community. 

Something fails because we lay on it. We smother it, or ruin it in some way. We were responsible but we want to blame someone else, and live without the consequences of our actions.

The prostitutes symbolise our “rights” and “responsibilities”. Like the two women they fight within us over the matter at hand.

People who harp on their rights will produce havoc and be willing to kill the baby to get their rightful half.

People who prioritise responsibility over rights, sacrifice their half so that the baby lives - even if not in their arms, and not in their way of their choosing .

However free life appears, everything that makes you a better, more responsible, caring, loving person of character, dignity and honour has a price.

Everything has a price. You can pay it with bitterness and resentment, or with gratitude and joy. You can defer the pain and the cost, and pay it later, or you can pay it upfront and immediately. When paid upfront our costs are known, and this is why we often hesitate to pay. When deferred, the cost is unknown, but almost always much worse and greater.

How, and when, you pay your price, really determines the trajectory of your personal life. 

Everyday we’re becoming worse, or we are becoming better.