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There was once a time when I certainly agreed with the adage that, “it’s easier to seek forgiveness than ask permission.” But when it comes to the ways in which I like to spoil myself, (particularly from the perspective my spouse), I find that permission is never given when requested, and forgiveness is seldom forthcoming on the occasions I try that first. She has over the years come to believe that when I get something that is “for the family,” it is in fact, actually “for Luther.” Like the time I bought a Suburban. I brought it home and showed what a phenomenal family man I was.... She would have none of it. She called it an “According to Jim” gift. With mama, neither forgiveness nor permission is ever easy.
Some years ago a television sitcom was on the air called According to Jim, and in one episode, Jim bought his wife a TV for their 10th anniversary...which he set up for use so he and his friends could watch football. My wife believed that the new car wasn’t really for the family, but truly for myself, an “According to Jim” gift. I argued: “Oh no! I could have brought home a Camaro!” She was unmoved.
Indeed, she has become so cynical, (or I so untrustworthy), that when I texted her to be reminded of the name of the sitcom, she reacted rather negatively. Here’s how the conversation went:
Luther: "What is the name of that show where the guy buys gifts for his wife that are really for him?"
Nusrat: “According to Jim”
Nusrat: "What the h___ did you buy????"
Luther: "Nothing. For the sermon."
Even after all these years, I am guilty until proven innocent....albeit perhaps, legitimately so....
This weekend, wel reflect on Jesus’ parable of the Rich Fool, and the problem of self-centeredness. I know many of you can relate to my own tendency to self-centeredness, or at least to commiserate with my wife’s burden in living with me.