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Passive

June 23, 2009 10 comments

In my religious heritage, and honestly, in the culture within which I was raised, being a passive person automatically makes you the neighborhood doormat.  A passive person, as defined by our society, often does not stand up for one’s self, refuses to sling mud, and “turns the other cheek,” among countless other, non-violent stances.  We’ve grown up with terms like “preemptive war” and “self defense,” that ingrain notions of self-preservation, greed, and violence within our moral structures; anything to protect or keep our freedoms. Passivity is not acceptable.  It’s my way or the highway, or something similar…

I would argue that, as a follower of Jesus, we are extended the opportunity to not only live and act in non-violent ways, as he modeled for us, but to also speak in non-violent ways.

An ancient writer named James once penned a letter to to some religious comrades.  It’s easy, being a religiously elite (at least by my own perception) member of society to think I’ve got it all figured out, especially when it comes to the religious stuff.  I would contend that I would fit right in with the folks to whom James writes his letter.  I think I know all the answers (not so much as of late…), I show favoritism, I’m greedy with my money and often times, my tongue becomes a weapon.

Now, as you can probably see from my description above, I’m not perfect… nearly, but not quite… (sarcasm)  This stuff James is writing about the tongue is a pretty important subject for us to grab hold of, especially if we think we are following Jesus down a path of non-violence.  My feelings on war is that we shouldn’t have it, long story, really short.  And the idea of passivism, the idea that all violence is unjustifiable, to which I agree, must be poured down into the nooks and crannies of our lives.  For example, the way we talk.

Here’s what I’m getting at.  To sum up James 3: keep your tongue in check, otherwise, everything else is bogus.  We can be extremely violent with the things we say, and not just the “I hate you’s” and “you’re a ________ “(insert expletive).  Nowhere is this concept more profoundly observed over the internet, and more specifically, in blogs.  We can say whatever we want because we’re in an impersonal arena.  But, if we ever hope to see this world won to the love of Christ, our words must be carefully chosen.  Words not chosen as weapons to injure and degrade, rather to extinguish pain, offer healing and authentically and sincerely usher in the Kingdom of God.

The old nursery school rhyme: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me, is probably the most bogus statement I’ve ever heard.  If we really are people of peace, not only will we refuse to throw sticks, stones and grenades, we will also refuse to sling mud and malign our brothers and sisters, of all age, race, sex, and religious orientation, among other things…

Call me a hippy, but I’m thoroughly convinced that love rules.  Christ’s love is one that acts differently AND talks differently, because it’s a force that seeks to fill it’s ranks with EVERYONE.  We don’t take lives, we don’t make excuses, we apologize, we take responsibility, we live in love, Christ’s love.  We do whatever it takes to usher in a new Kingdom, a new empire, a new cabinet.  Love rules.

We’ll chew on this concept with our kids tomorrow night and see what they think…

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