The monkey business of bitterness

“Leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Matthew 5:24

Christians are called to be peacemakers.

This means sometimes we are also called to reconcile. That said, I’m going to tell you the true story of reconciliation between a man and a monkey.

A few years ago, a certain zoo was making some renovations. A concrete truck driver, we’ll call him Jethro, was sent near the monkey enclosure to pour concrete.

All day one mischevious monkey was harassing poor Jethro. The monkey would throw food and dirt at him, all while laughing in his face. Jethro said to himself “I’ll get you back before I leave, monkey.”

As Jethro prepared to leave, he aimed the water hose of his truck at the monkey, and doused it. Jethro left the zoo with a satisfied smirk while the monkey stood, soaked and stunned.

The next day Jethro’s manager says the zoo called about the monkey business with the hose, and he assumes he’s about to be reprimanded for his unprofessional behavior.

To Jethro’s surprise, he’s told the zoo wants him to come back to the zoo and apologize to the monkey. Apparently this poor chimp has refused to eat, play, or socialize at all ever since being drenched.

Jethro laughs and says he won’t say sorry to a monkey.

The zoo continues calling several days in a row pleading for Jethro to come and apologize; the monkey’s still refusing to eat and they’re scared it could get seriously ill if this continues.

Jethro relents, returns to the zoo, and stares the sad simian in the eyes as he apologizes for spraying it. The monkey beams the biggest and brightest smile at Jethro as it gets up, and begins eating and playing with the other monkeys.

The zoo staff is elated, and Jethro goes on his way with a very interesting story to share.

While I hope the story itself was entertaining to you, I also hope you take away the intended moral.

As Christians, we don’t have time for the monkey business of bitterness. When we allow ourselves or another to harbor bitterness by refusing to reconcile we create a prison that removes joy and peace from life.

Alternatively, by choosing to forgive, and apologize we can bring healing and light into our own life and the lives of others.