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I’m pretty flexible on most things, but there are certain topics…not so much. I’m passionate about learning what God went to so much trouble to reveal about himself in the Bible and his history with those who choose to love him back. I’m passionate about sharing what God has taught me. I’m passionate about those that God has given me to love, both family and close friends. I expect the best from them and for them. I’m passionate about life and hope, and I vehemently oppose those who restrict either. I’m passionate about music and travel and education.

But deeply held passions typically lead to pet peeves. My passion for God’s Word can make me disdainful of those who use God as a tool for their personal agenda. My passion for language makes me utterly irritated with professional speakers or journalists who appear unaware of some basic grammar rules. My passion for those I love often makes me intolerant of their choices that cause them regret. I usually am incapable of maintaining a cheerful disposition with those who zoom past a line of traffic and then insist that those who have waited and merged safely let them cut in line, or those who expect kindness and generosity, but show none. Dishonesty, discourtesy, incompetence, and selfishness are far more likely to cause me anger than move me to mercy.

In recent days I’ve watched as too many in this country have used their passion as an excuse for prejudice, rejection, rioting and hatred. Indulging our pet peeves leads us to arrogance and intolerance. Both passions and peeves handled selfishly can engender increased problems, rather than progress. Both sides live in such a way as to prove their enemies right.

Human nature hasn’t changed much. Jesus had to battle the passions and peeves of his generation. The Pharisees were passionate about defending the rules they had created to enforce God’s law. Any who didn’t honor their authority and obey them were punished. The Pharisees focused on their rules for the Sabbath and ensuring that God stay in the box they created for him, insisting that all around them agree with them. Jesus tried to teach them a better understanding of Sabbath and to see God as he really was. Rather than testing what Jesus said for truth, they tried several times to stone him, and eventually orchestrated his crucifixion.They came face to face with God incarnate and missed him because he didn’t support their passionate perspective.

I fear that our generation has gotten so arrogant in our passions and peeves that we too will miss God. We believe only the facts that prove us right and arrogantly dismiss all who disagree with us. Whether it is a Confederate flag or gay marriage or our chosen political party, those who disagree with us become our pet peeves. God’s call on each of us is individual….we don’t get to impose what we like on people who disagree with us. We do have to consistently seek God’s will and guidance for ourselves. Sometimes that may look like mercy; sometimes it may look like justice. But either way our response must be obedience to God, not self-centered arrogance. Those who disagree with you may be wrong….your response to them may be wrong as well and you may miss the opportunity to help them see your point of view. Those who disagree with you may be right….your response may prevent you from ever understanding that. I encourage you to sacrifice your passions and peeves and let God show you what your response should look like. Live in such a way as to prove your enemies wrong about you.

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