Sunday, February 7, 2016

Being a “Bad Ass” Isn’t Popular in Heaven

 Am I the only one that has trouble with what society thinks is acceptable behavior?  I see it all the time online in posts that raise my eyebrows, and the comments that support them.  One of those behaviors is being a “bad ass”.  Sorry for the language, but I don’t know how else to describe this type of person.

I’m talking about those that are in-your-face, easily offended, mouthy, chest puffed out, fists drawn at the blink of an eye, and just ready to go at it no matter what.  A dirty fork at a restaurant?  Shout and scream!  A telemarketer calls in the middle of dinner?  Cussing and cursing ensue!  Someone takes the parking lot you’re headed to? Obscenities shouted out the window!  Someone mistreats in any small inconsequential way?  Ball up your fists!  Scream! Storm out of the room completely offended!

Yes, all this is acceptable behavior in some sects of our society.  It’s answered with “yeah man, I’d have throat punched that @#$%!”  or “happens to me all the time – I feel ya!” or even “call me if you need me”, as if two idiots would solve the problem instead of making it worse.  Friends, please don’t encourage bad behavior.  You become an accomplice to the sin when you add fuel to the fire.

But what does God say about when we’re offended?  Does he say “boldly stand your ground and let no man take you for granted”?  Nope!  Does he say “verily, verily, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, seek your vengeance immediately on those that offend you”?  Uh…no!   Does he say “let their sins against you be known to the general public so that all can be offended with you”?  Sorry, but no again. 

Here’s what He says:

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5

Meekness, that characteristic that is quiet, gentle, not standing up for themselves but choosing to live in peace instead of conflict, is rewarded!  News flash! God likes meekness. 

“But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” – Matthew 5:39

To “turn the other cheek” requires not being angry when they do “slap” you.  Or, let’s put this in modern terms, as there’s not a lot of slapping going on. 

If they gossip about you behind your back, still talk to them and let it be. 

If they steal from you, give them what they need so they don’t have to steal. (Trust God. He will reward you with greater.) 

If they take advantage of your good natured generosity, allow them to.  It’s better to give than receive and they’re opening the door for you to have many more blessings. 

If they mouth off to you, insulting you, shouting and screaming and yes, even causing you to cry….love them anyway. 

You see, love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).  God is love, and in showing them love, you show them God.  Ah, it would be easy to show them yourself, right? Oh it would feel so good to show them what you got inside.  But would that be good for you or them? Nope!  Show them God. 

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” – Ephesians 4:26-27

God never tells us NOT to be angry.  That would be like telling us NOT to see!  He gave us eyes to see, and a heart that can be angry.  Anger is a tool to be used.  Anger is good because it comes from knowing right and wrong.  Understand what it is about the situation that makes you angry.  Was your pride hurt?  Get rid of your pride.  Was their opinion of you not what you thought it was?  Learn to care more about what God thinks of you.  Was your opinion of them hurt in that you never thought they’d act that way?  Seriously, there’s not a soul on earth that won’t disappoint you, and chances are you’ve disappointed many.  Forgive them. 

Finding the cause of your anger will help you dispel it, dissolve it, and wash it away.  If you use your anger to better yourself, soon you will not react out of anger, but out of love.  Point in fact: Jesus Christ.  He had every right to be angry, to hate the people He came to save, to leave His unbelieving untrusting disciples along the road side – but he didn’t. And only once was His anger evident and that was in righteous indignation of what was done in the temple.  No, His reaction was not sin – it was justice, in the same way that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was justice, and in the same way that Hell is justice. 

Finally, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 how we should deal with those that offend us:

… on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

That’s right, it is Satans tool to have you be unforgiving and unloving to those that hurt your feelings.  Because if you don’t forgive, God does not forgive you.   Yeah, that’s BIBLE!  Matthew 6:15 says “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

So instead of saying “I’m going to punch you in the throat”, how about learning to say “Bro, you hurt me, but I’m going to love you anyway.”?  All things are possible WITH God.

Finally, let’s dispel the idea that being kind to those that offend us hurts them.  So many people rely on one verse to back up this claim.  Romans 12:20 says “Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”  Oh boy! Heaping coals of fire on the head of our enemy feels good when we’re angry, doesn’t it?  But that’s not what it’s all about. 

Read that verse again.  It says, take care of his needs.  Feed him if he’s hungry.  Give him a cold glass of water on a hot day.  And yes, heap coals of fire on his head.  In the days this was written families had to have fire to cook and warm their houses.  If their fire went out, they put a basket on their head and would ask others for coals from their fire.  “Heaping”, mounting up a big bunch of coals on their head, would be an offering of love.  Ah, there it is again….God says love your enemy.

Hopefully this is an eye opener to some “bad ass” who would like to pursue a peaceful life.  My intent is not to harm, but to show you a better way to live.  God’s way is always better you see.  That’s why He gives His word to us – to show us an easier way of life.  Lean on Him when your anger strikes and your anger bones start to flare up.  His way is peace.  His way is love.  His way is forgiveness.

So many of the storms in our life are created by ourselves.  Be the calm in your raging sea.