Life has really changed. With all of the amazing connectedness we have through social media, we are more alone than ever. We see people via Facetime but we cannot touch them. We “chat” without talking. We “like” without truly feeling emotion, we “follow” without knowing where we are going and we “join” without ever going anywhere. As a result of all of this non-active activity, when someone crosses us in any of these virtual environments we can snap back at them in so many ways with without having to actually face them. We tweet, post, Instagram, email, text – all with anonymity. Funny, Jesus specifically taught us to “turn the other cheek” - not to virtually smack them upside their head! What does turning the other cheek even mean and how do we apply it in both our real and virtual worlds? Is this teaching of Jesus still as relevant and powerful as it was centuries ago?
Revenge – the desire for it can be a powerful and even overwhelming emotion. Sadly, thinking about revenge can be a fun motivating and bonding experience, as it occupies our minds with creative and yet often diabolical means with which to carry out our purpose. It is amazing how the development of such a negative action can spur such positive feelings. So wait – if all of these positive feelings come from planning revenge then can we rightfully label revenge as wrong? Absolutely! Just because something makes you feel good or empowered or focused doesn’t mean that you are becoming a better person because of those things. Remember, Satan felt good and was empowered and was focused when he rebelled against God – and we all know how that will turn out! Can revenge ever be good? How do we recognize, manage and direct our feelings of revenge?
Enemies. For some of us, naming them is easy – we can put a name and a face to them and recite the reasons we have to consider them enemies. For others, the idea of an enemy may be more related to a general group who may have a different ideology, or a different political perspective. Whatever makes someone your enemy, the question remains, how do you treat them? Jesus says to love our enemies, but is that really a practical statement? Doesn’t loving an enemy overlook and minimize the very reasons that they may justifiably be our enemies? Stay with us!
"Trayvon Martin"...mention that name and you unleash a flood of emotion and turmoil. This young man was tragically shot to death at age 17 and his death has raised a firestorm of controversy. Was it self-defense? Was it racially motivated? Should his killer have been arrested immediately? Will there be justice? These are all questions that we have no answers for – sorry! What we do want to discuss though, is the emotion, reaction and desire by some for vengeance. Is vengeance ever appropriate for us to take? What if justice is NOT served? Does vengeance give closure? What does it really mean to leave things like this in God’s hands? Are the Old and New Testament different on this? Stay with us as we look into this important question.
We all have at one time or another wanted revenge – the act of not only getting back at someone or something, but being sure that they were delivered that little extra dose of humiliation so they would know to not ever mess with us again. Yeah, revenge – so often looked at as sweet and so often sought after as a dramatic answer to our woes. But is it? Is revenge sweet or desirable or even good? Well, the Bible says “vengeance is mine saith the Lord!” If God wants vengeance, then why shouldn’t we? Stay with us as we put revenge on the table to find out where or even if it should fit into our lives.
Anger, revenge and grudges! Sometimes our tolerance for others wears thin and we just want to...why we just want to let ‘em have it! Let ‘em know the heat of our wrath and the consequences for what we see as their wrong-doing and misbehavior. We want them to know that they can run but they cannot hide, for the long arm of justice will prevail! Now that that’s been said, the question is, SHOULD that be the way we think and act? Is there ever a time when we as Christians “take off the gloves” and show the full force of our dissatisfaction? This weekend, being the ninth anniversary of 9/11, we thought it appropriate to not only assess our position nine years later, but also to try and understand some current events and put it all in the context of God, tolerance, hard-heartedness and forgiveness.
We all have had experiences in our lives that have left a bitter taste in our mouths. Whether it is a self-inflicted emotional wound that brings the bitterness or a wound that comes from someone or somewhere else, the fact is, we are wounded and we become bitter. So, what does bitterness do? Is it ever helpful in any way? Is holding bitterness a practice that nourishes us or is holding bitterness a practice that eats us alive from the inside out? How do we recognize bitterness and how do we eradicate it from our lives? Today we look into a Biblical perspective on the burden of bitterness.
Oh, the sweetness of revenge! That is a statement that often has its fulfillment in the most senseless ways. We have all experienced the desire for revenge. We have all experienced the drive and passion that come with this desire. The question is, does revenge have a place in the life of a Christian? Now most Christians will tell you that it doesn’t, so here is another question...if it is a Christian responsibility to leave the vengeance to God, should it give us a thrill that those who have done evil will really “get what comin’ to them” in a big way? Stay with us as we look into revenge, retribution and retaliation – what are we supposed to do?