Sunday, February 15, 2015

Christian Anger Management

      In his famous gospel account Mark 2:28 he writes of how Jesus reminded the Pharisees present in the synagogue on that day how God had made the Sabbath for all to rest, including himself.  He insisted on it, finally even commanding that his people do it. The week typically kept people very busy, and there was one day needed each week simply to rest.  The seventh day of the week was designed by God for man (male and female) to rest from his or her work.  Jesus had earlier taught the Pharisees how the Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around as they had claimed, and today he was going to teach them that it was lawful even to do good on the Sabbath.  But first he quizzed them again on their new understanding by asking them directly "Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath . . . to save a life"?  They kept silent.

      Has this ever happened to you?  The Pharisees were not only unwilling to open their minds up to the possibilities Jesus presented, but incapable to bear being asked.  After looking around at the Pharisees with anger and grieving at their hardness of heart Jesus restored a man's withered hand.  Jesus' anger, quite possibly, was summarily dispensed with.  

       Jesus was "angry" and intended for those around him to sense it. We are taught to feel guilty and reckless in our anger, and the vast majority of the time likely should; but in all instances, the challenge is to let it propel us toward positive action.  There always is some good result it can prompt in us. Anger happens, and as we can see in the case of Jesus, it can be there for a legitimate reason. The field of psychology considers anger one of the primary emotions.  As humans, it is a vital part of our humanity.  If you don't experience anger, you cannot be sure that you are human.  It is part of the image of God. In this account, he depicted anger as a predictable response in the face of arrogance and denial.  And he demonstrated what he does with his anger -- he controls it, and channels it into positive action.  Anger resolved.

      The Pharisees on the other hand, probably appeared very restrained and proper, even humble in their silence.  They were, as often times are soft spoken and meek individuals, wolves in sheep's clothing.  They, the silent, and probably appearing very reserved, were taking counsel among themselves along with the Herodians (government officials) as to how they might destroy this man who had performed a miracle in their presence, while they could only stand silently by.

      The Pharisees were silent, probably quite composed, yet, to maintain their composure they needed to kill.  They could expose Jesus as having violated the Sabbath law, hope to conceal or misrepresent his miracle, but they knew their silence would not be effective as the miracles and teaching would keep coming and the only way they could prevail was to kill him.  This would work out in the short term, but in the long term, they would learn what Jesus meant when he had said they could kill the body but could not kill the soul.  They believed in a resurrection of the dead, but made the mistake of not breaking their silence and comparing notes with him.

      He had set aside a day for his people to not only rest from their work with his blessing, but to use it for good. To have this blessing turned on it's head and used as a weapon by the leaders would be upsetting to say the least.  But his lesson does not settle on anger for its resolution.  Anger reveals his emotional response, but then becomes secondary to miraculous resolution.  He resolutely builds back up and restores the Sabbath day's proper interpretation, and a lame man's faith and love, as well as that of everyone within seeing and hearing the event and it's reverberations then, and since.  He builds back up. He intervenes according to what is necessary to care for the souls of men and women in ways that demonstrate hope, justice, and mercy, using both wrath and kindness accordingly as to what most effectively navigates his beloved self-corrupted fleshly creations and their valuable souls safely, in one large spiritual ecology, on into eternity.  It is absolutely astounding.  Thanks for stopping in an sharing in my amazement.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Many Faces of Martyrdom.

      Isn't it interesting how in recent decades the news has been filled with suicide bombers and others running into battle to kill or be killed in order to personally benefit themselves in their death? 

      The apostles, by contrast, did not want to die, they wanted to go on teaching -- to live.  Yet, they did not fear death.  They had seen Jesus render death as being of no affect.  They were all eventually put to death for refusing to deny that they were witnesses of such a thing.  Nor did they kill.

      The reason they did not fear death is that they had seen a man who claimed he was sent by the Father, be put to death, and appear to them immediately afterward, just as he had told them he would.  They had seen enough. God did not need them to kill, nor fear those who threatened to kill them, but only to believe what they had seen and been told in person.  They could only keep telling others until their dieing day.  They left the day of their martyrdom in his hands.