Who would Jesus BLAST?!
Simply because Jesus says hard things does not give myself nor anyone else the “carte blanche” to say or write hard things. Punch in the mouth nasty things go beyond that.
Three nights past a well-esteemed and very intelligent friend posted a personal lament about the “shoot ’em with a mouse” click-and-post ignorant, vitriolic and un-substantiated rubbish via social media- you guessed it, all about political candidates. Nothing new about this, but it’s so early in the election process.
I recently shared how Billy Graham lamented preaching too harshly in his younger days, and that I also carry that personal regret.
Been thinking more and more about Jeremiah- a lamenting dude who is sometimes called “the weeping prophet”. He spoke hard words about Israel’s sin but the man truly
-loved- Israel and deeply loved the living God of Israel. I agree with him… and Him.
Last Sunday’s message (which my brilliant wife Wendi and our friend Tammy Perlmutter brought to us) was on the second chapter of John. The clarity of God’s grace was huge (water into wine, old to new attitudes, law to the Christ Who is “full of grace and truth”, the living fulfillment of the law for all who believe). It also states His outrage (Jesus at Passover Who made the whip and knocked over the moneychanger’s tables).
The scriptures command “Be angry but sin not.” Indeed one can be quite angry but not in such an attitude that God would consider it truly sinful, wrong, hurtful -nothing close to wishing ill on your enemies whom Jesus commands us to love. Wow. Re-read that please.
As I age I realize my testosterone level as a male is likely be ebbing some but beyond that I have spent many, many hours studying The Bible and can say with experience that “the anger of humans does not work the righteousness of God”. When it comes to politics, and for that matter inter-church or church-to-church relations all over the world, it seems plenty of us aren’t “getting” this very well!
Then to the internet and a regular stream of, to be blunt, verbal puke. Violent barfing of every sort done -by Christians- as though we all have both right and responsibility to scream our guts out at our “enemies”.
When I was much younger often fell very much into “outrage mode”. As I look back over the years I wonder exactly how many hearts were turned toward God, toward the love and kindness of Jesus, toward surrender to the Holy Spirit as opposed to some (at least) feeling like I was trying to “throat-punch” them into this or that?
Sometimes it’s key words, sometimes a sentence or two. Sometimes it’s the tone of voice and/or the facial expressions, over-all body language. All or some mix of these can really turn people AWAY from the love and truly Good News of Christ.
Hey, all of these come up in communication with your wife, husband, kids, other family members, someone at school, work, church, band, right?
So when someone blasts in social or other media it can really kick people in the face.
How many are “converted” by shooting sludge at high-velocity? My guess is very few if any… while you’re simply playing to the stands, preaching to the choir, your buds and buddettes cheering you on from the cheap seats with “YEAAAAAAAHHHH, COOK THEM LOUSY JOKERS”! Only you’re your own worst enemy when it comes to winning in terms of making new converts… to anything or anyone really. Certainly true if we are talking about winning people to the true Jesus.
Shall we ask God to rain down fire on them Lord? They’re not with our group!
A soft answer turns away wrath
Put all anger, wrath and malice away from you
Blessed are the peacemakers
Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword
God is not mocked- that which you sow you shall also reap
Note that all of the above are direct quotes from scripture, all have to do with right communication and right relationships.
As I listened to the morning message my thoughts turned to the reality that you can count on about one hand the number of times where Jesus “blasts” people.
In most every case it had to do with religious hypocrites interested in power and position, fearful Jesus would wreck their hold on political strength and more, His popular influence among the people. This is the case throughout all four Gospels.
Further, consider from the Book of Proverbs- “Faithful are the wounds of a friend but perverse are the kisses of an enemy.”
If one truly has a genuine faith, authentic relationship with Jesus Christ, whatever “wounds” come directly from Him are more like disciplines to bring us to spiritual maturity in the blessing of His character being formed in us, not to slap us down or jam us into a form we were not created for.
In other words, at times He brings a stinging medicine to heal us out of compassion for us. This is based in His love for us, not to merely win an argument or a verbal “wrestling match”! How very unlike sinful humans, no?
On the other hand, you may well think someone is your “friend” when in fact if you disagree with them on anything of consequence, kisses turn to flying fists and sometimes that’s the end of the relationship. With apologies to Alice Cooper, no more Mr. nice guy ‘eh?
On the one hand it’s easy to beat a drum and trash talk, something quite another to speak truth IN LOVE and from a motive of God’s actual love for a person or people group. When you’re in “more heat than light” mode it’s always easier to draw and pull the trigger rather than take a breath and consider your own attitude in the process of communicating. Man do I ever know such sin- and have repented often due to it.
All this to say the key and core commandment (not option) throughout the Word of God given by God, Father, Son, Spirit and the many Old and New Testament writers, apostles and prophets is this: LOVE. Love God, love neighbor -not “agree on every point”, rather “love”.
Does that sound like what you or I say, type in Facebook, Twitter, WordPress etc., podcast or put load into YouTube? Does it sound like those you routinely watch on tv, listen to on radio or via the Web?
These are questions I ask myself with some regularity as my first concern is learning to better love with thoughts, words and action, not just “put ’em in their place”.
As long as we live we can continue to grow in His grace and learn to love others as we ought to. Sadly, sometimes, we merely vomit and hit “send”. God help us!
I believe these are things worth considering.
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn