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08 February 2008

Guy at the Ped Xing

Hopefully this will be my last mobile phone post for a while. About to leave the hospital (my wife has had a surgery that went wonderfully well and her recovery is progressing phenomenally).

In my rantings here and there about giving people the benefit of the doubt, I'm not suggesting that we drop the use of good common sense. A healthy measure of background knowledge and the use of innate defense mechanisms ("Hey, maybe that guy in the hockey mask over in that dark alley DOESN'T deserve the benefit of the doubt.") are necessary for survival.

Scenario: you're the pedestrian at a "stop for pedestrians" crosswalk. One car ignores you and zooms past with the driver frowning. The next car stops and its driver smiles and waves you across.

Which one (if either) are you more apt to call "jerk," either mentally or audibly?

Obviously we can't know the first driver's mind, but what if he's just received horrible news of some kind? A layoff, a death in the family, news that his kid just punched another kid in the nose at school, etc.

Regardless of the situation, he deserves our compassion before he deserves our ire. Note that we'll have already exercised a modicum of caution and common sense by looking both ways before crossing the road.

What I am getting at is this: as Christ-followers, our transformation by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2) should begin to manifest itself even in our gut reactions; so much so that people who don't know Christ might even call us weird.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16, ASV)


Preston N said...

Granted we are to treat people with grace, love and respect in all aspects of our lives - but I think you can do this and still be upset or angry with them. If your a parent I think you can understand this concept as we can be angry that our children are misbehaving, but yet we still love them and treat them with respect.

I think too often Christians confuse any anger with sin. Anger can easily lead us into the sin of hating someone (James 1:19), but anger in of itself is not a sin. Clearly God has equipped us with a range of emotions for a good purpose and we must learn to use them in their proper context. I think too often people have this "Polly-Anna" concept that Christians should walk around and never be upset or be angry (I am not saying this was Deans point). Clearly, Jesus on several occasions would get angry with his disciples or better yet the Pharisees.

Mark 3:5 "And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their heart, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth; and his hand was restored."

We also see Jesus getting angry or upset with his apostles in Mark 8 -Jesus seemingly becomes frustrated with them because they can't seem to get past their stomachs. Let's also not forget to mention the fact Jesus went to the temple on more than one accasion and drove out the merchants (with a whip no less). So I think we should be carefuil not to confuse legitimate anger with sin.

A side note: The greek word for anger or wrath is orgay in the NT can be confusing. The word actually has two meanings - depending on the context. When used in the context of anger as a proper emotion it is defined as "Grief with desire" (Rom 1:18) and when it is used in the context of anger being motivated with malice or hate it is defined as "violent passion", in other words your so mad you would want to do physical harm to someone.

Dean Lusk said...

Great clarification, Preston.

I should also note that walking around with a silly grin or painted-on smile can honestly be just plain annoying to others, too (not to mention disingenuous).

The things you mention all involve a working knowledge of specific people or situations. I meant to speak only to uninformed prejudice (for lack of a better phrase -- as soon as I post this comment the correct phrase will come to mind).

This was a particularly good summary sentence: "Anger can easily lead us into the sin of hating someone (James 1:19), but anger in of itself is not a sin."

Jeff M. Miller said...

Completely off-topic comment here. I'm Jeff Miller, and I'm on the new worship email list that Jamey Ketchum set up.

Just wanted to say hello to another fellow blogger. I'm adding you to my feed reader.

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