My relationship with Marcie (not her real name) took several permanent steps backward when she called up my parents one day and told them she wanted to kill me. According to Marcie—who, up to that point had been a casual friend—the flash point for her murderous thoughts was a conversation from years earlier, which Marcie apparently had remembered selectively and fixated on.
That previous conversation was mildly memorable to me too, mostly because the question that prompted it had seemed to come wildly out of the blue.
Marcie: “Lisa, do you get A’s in school?”
Lisa: “Yeah, I get some A’s. But it’s not that important to get A’s in school, Marcie.”
She wanted to kill me, she was now saying, because of the A’s. According to a report given by authorities a couple days later, a bigger reason was that Marcie’s guardian had been ill, and as a result Marcie had stopped taking her meds.
On one hand, Marcie posed no plausible serious threat to me. It seemed reasonable to believe that with her medications back on schedule, her mind would sort out properly. Plus she was a tiny woman on a limited income who at that point lived 200 miles away from me and had no driver’s license.
Aside from concerns about my safety, though, there remained the issue of my sanity. That mental space had suddenly become complicated. How do you deal with someone who has shown such enormous deviation? How do you arrive at a scenario where you even want to deal with that person again? It agitated me, just thinking that Marcie and I might cross paths again someday. To distrust Dr. Jekyll for always, must you meet Mr. Hyde only once?
Which brings us, some would suggest, to the question of God’s character in a Bible passage like Ezekiel 5.