Why Bite Your Tongue?

Ever find yourself sequestered in your home, stuffing gingersnaps in your mouth, to prevent a bunch of words from coming out?

Like say for instance, half a story is being told in your community with such regularity that its general “truthiness” has cemented into fact. But you know the other half, and the only thing holding it back is a thin layer of gingersnaps.

What do you do?

Caramel Gingersnap Sandwiches

(Photo credit: jensteele)

Well, if you’re me, you walk around mad about it for 90 minutes or so, seething at the injustice, imagining how your withering rebuke will wipe the smug off a few faces. Believe me, if there were an Olympic event for the withering rebuke, I’d be the Michael Phelps of it.

But here’s the problem, I really want to act like Jesus and Jesus didn’t act like that.

In fact, he taught that God is our vindicator, not us. At the mother of all bogus death penalty trials, one prompted by religious and political fear mongering, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the chance to respond, and he didn’t. He remained silent. When Jesus was being tortured to death, he finally opened his mouth to say, “Father forgive them they don’t know what they are doing.”

See, my natural response to personal injustice oozes self-righteousness and sanctimony, and who doesn’t love that in a Christian? Or if I choose not to tell someone off, I’ll tell five random people about it instead, so we can all be annoyed together. Mean, gossiping Christians – another thing people love.

As it turns out, my “natural response” is the problem, it’s what Jesus came to correct. He showed us how live here, and then died for our inability to do it. Or to put it another way:

Without Jesus, I’d be on the horn right now, spreading malice, division, strife and slander, all in the name of justice. Hmm.

But with Jesus, I’m just eating gingersnaps and talking to you. Maybe he’s even raising an eyebrow at that.

Love Dinner Thank God Love Dinner #3 is Saturday night because I need practice.

Without it, my cranky, unregenerate self shoves her way to the front, spits out the gingersnaps and lets somebody have it. Because I don’t want that, I’ve decided we’re going to spend LD3 and the month of December practicing one of the hard ones in Ephesians.

You ready?

Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32 AMP

To join our online community of “bible doers” working out Ephesians 4:29-32 in your own world, just do it and tell us what happens. Post in the comment section or via the contact page. We’ll run the best stories, with a link to your blog here.

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We Are All Bombers.

Oh America.

I felt so helpless this morning as I prayed for the people in Boston. How Lord, have we gotten here?

They don’t know who planted those bombs but surely it’s the question on everyone’s mind. Was it a McVeigh or an Al-Zarqawi. The answer changes the context but not the bottom line.

Flower sad

(Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Here’s how you know we live in a civilized nation: As the bombs exploded, cops, firemen and volunteers ran toward the blast, offering brave and selfless effort on behalf of strangers. As Mr. Rogers’ Facebook meme said yesterday, when something scary happens, people always run to help. May God richly bless you public servants and kindhearts everywhere.

Here’s how you know we don’t live in a civilized nation: All of us inflict lesser forms violence on one another every day. Given the ease with which we can do it on-line with no personal consequence, we spew hate on Facebook, slander our President, denigrate other cultures and shoot the bird in traffic, running up on their bumper to make sure they know we hate them for cutting us off.

Is it so hard to imagine that Boston’s bombing is the same behavior writ large? It’s hate. It’s unforgiveness. It’s our unregenerate, unrepentant human selves running the show like we know what we are doing.  Like the coward who planted the bombs in Boston, we hide behind online profiles and wheel of our car. Rarely do we call someone an asshole to their face. We the plant bomb and run.

We are releasing our frustration and negativity into the world, in ways we believe are harmless. But our personal violence has spiritual impact on this planet we don’t even understand.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

Evil celebrates every time a bomb explodes or a name is slandered. So when we pray to our God today, thinking ourselves righteous and civilized, asking how such evil happens, pause and consider that it happens everyday in our own hearts.

Friends, the answer is Jesus.

As he was mocked, whipped then tortured to death he said, “Lord please forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”

We don’t know. We are selfish, fearful, unforgiving little creatures who carry all the potential in the universe to become the love of God. But if we could do it without him, we’d have done it by now. Jesus is the love of God incarnate, the Prince of Peace and the Messiah who came to the world, not judge it, but to save it. John 3:16-17.

It’s still our choice to believe that and live accordingly.