Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Meek Can Have It!

“Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father's house a marketplace.” John 2:13-22

This morning I am thanking God for that passage. Last night I got very, very angry. I fashioned my whip and then I didn't overturn tables, I posted on Facebook.

The referenced passage teaches us a lot about anger. Jesus did not just react immediately to what he considered an affront, he took his time, he thought about it the entire time he was fashioning his whip.  I thank God this model for Christian anger exists.  Thank you, Jesus!

When we're walking the Christian walk, I think we receive subtle and not so subtle messages to squelch our anger. “Turn the other cheek,” is a mantra to many. “Nice Christians don't raise their voices,” and of course, my personal favorite, “The meek shall inherit the earth.” There is nothing meek about me and I don't really mind missing out on my inheritance. 

We are confronted daily with these schizophrenic messages from God's word. So what to do? We are left with the task of deciding how to apply Jesus' teachings to our everyday lives.

We have help awaiting us. It is stating the obvious to say that we might consider praying before working on those whips, “ Holy Spirit, a little direction, please!”

The decision to act out in anger should also be accompanied by volumes of introspection. Is it ego acting out or is my anger righteous? In last night's case, I have to admit my ego had taken one too many blows from the subject of my wrath but I don't think ego was the primary motivator. I'd be a terrible liar if I didn't admit it was a contributing factor.

Is it wrong to defend our egos? I don't think so, not always. We are children of God. The children he created in his image. When the image is ridiculed, condescended to, and reviled, I think our loving Father wants us to say, “Don't do this to me!”

One other, admittedly subjective, measure is the feeling after we display our anger. Last night there was peace! Peace is so subjective but I think we all know when we've got it and we know when we don't. Last night there was no tugging at my conscience. I fell asleep happy that for once I didn't let a bully go unchecked.

Please see my Facebook page for original rant.