That's when the Pharisees plotted a way to trap him into saying
something damaging. They sent their disciples, with a few of
Herod's followers mixed in, to ask, "Teacher, we know you
have integrity, teach the way of God accurately, are indifferent
to popular opinion, and don't pander to your students. So tell
us honestly: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?
Jesus knew they were up to no good. He said, "Why are you
playing these games with me? Why are you trying to trap me? Do
you have a coin? Let me see it." They handed him a silver
"This engraving--who does it look like? And whose name is
They said, "Caesar."
"Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his."
The Pharisees were speechless. They went off shaking their heads.
This is a fine example of holding people to the literalness of
their very own words. Usually when people talk they leave themselves
open to being caught on a technicality that can be instructive.
The reason most of us get caught in the traps of language without
finding the escape hatch is that we neither listen carefully
enough before we speak nor spend the time to clarify what is
being said. With careful and clarifying listening we can mutually
learn something about life.
It is my hope that you have someone in your life who can really
listen to you for a least a couple of minutes a day. Even if
what they reflect back to you makes you shake your head, it is
a most valuable gift to get to the point of not knowing how to
respond. It opens up a new edge of life.
This is partly what a spiritual director does and you are encouraged
to engage one and to practice being one for someone else.
It takes some integrity and indifference (in equal measures?)
to be able to listen carefully. To reverse that - it is important
to listen well because that is a route to engaged integrity and
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