Q. How should we react when other people hurt us, or they claim that we hurt them?
P. Seek to Ground our identity and security in Christ, so we can respond with curiosity and compassion rather than fear or anger
When I feel threatened, my natural instinct is either fear (giving in) or anger (taking over). I am learning that neither of these is very effective at spreading the Kingdom of God; though both may be expedient in terms of protecting the self, at least in the short term.
Conversely, when the challenge is not in an area that threatens my identity, I find myself relaxed and eager to engage with understanding all sides of the issue. I am able to focus on ensuring that others feel heard, and become confident enough to explore creative ways of solving the underlying problems.
How do we build a community and practices where all of us can feel safer confronting the emotional issues that define both our identities and our differences?
In Which We Forgive Those Who Don’t Deserve It, Because We Don’t Either
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” — Matthew 5:5
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” — Matthew 5:9
Anger is unique among the seven deadly sins in that, in general, anger isn’t even a sin (cf. Ephesians 4:26). At one level, it is simply an emotional reaction to having our boundaries crossed. And at the highest level, anger is actually a virtue, since it is a significant part of God’s character — i.e., the “name” to which we are being conformed!
At the same time, anger is also the name of one of the most violent and dangerous sins. We can define sinful anger as a self-righteous passion for punishing those who offend us. This is why anger is so empowering and so deadly: it magnifies the sins of others to the point where we ignore our own.
Because anger is so devastating, we need to combat it with both meekness — the ability to restrain our passions in submission to God’s rule — and peacemaking, which seeks restoration and reconciliation instead of revenge.
Apologies for the pretentious title, but I wanted to challenge myself to identify and reorganize the lessons we covered in last year’s leadership class into a coherent prescription for facing down “Ministry Killers”. The idea is that each of these “steps” would be a single “life lesson”, but that together they provide the “full armor of God.“