Monday, January 14, 2013
Mission 2013 #11. Are You Peaceful or Provoking?
It seems to me that the people in this country are getting more Reactive every year. Politicians in the highest offices attack another politician and it seems harder and harder to come together and get solutions to major problems because every issue change, no matter how small, is met with a huge outcry from one lobby group or another.
On the religious front, seems that many of our most famous preachers are attacking others in the ministry with harsh language. And, these incidents are not restricted to small groups of crazed and paranoid preachers like those who burn the Koran or picket at military funerals. These people get a lot of press and the pubic assumes all Christians are like that.
Angry, bitter attacks are not signs of maturity but of immaturity.They do not show the God of the Bible but the God of Moloch.
No, I do not think the earlier politicians and preachers were always saintly in their approaches. Even St. Paul, the author of the most beautiful hymn to love ever had an ongoing problem with anger. He was ungracious toward John Mark and refused to travel with him or Barnabas. But the general tenor of how we interact with family, friends and fellow Christians seems to have gotten into a downward cycle of meanness and defensiveness. If one person says he or she is a Democrat a staunch Conservative might refuse to befriend him from then on and make strong accusations against his character.
Even in sports now people are sometimes fired by a super sensitive and reactive company for an errant comment. One writer for an online sports group was fired for using then term "chink in the armor" about a Chinese player. He was accused of being a racist and lost his job in shame. The term "chink in the armor" has been used millions of times by millions of people and has no racist connotations.
An extreme response to events, words and positions is called REACTIVITY. For example, on a scale of a low of 1 to a high of 10, the sports writer's boss REACTED at a 10! A RESPONSE of a 2 was probably appropriate. Something like, "Hey man. Be a bit more careful. We wan t to be sensitive to the players ethnicity."
According to Family Therapists, which is a tribe to which I belong, such an rise in REACTIVITY is a major indication that our society is in a serious REGRESSION emotionally and relationally. You can read more about this in the books by Dr. Roberta Gilbert. I tend to agree with Dr. Gilbert and think we are getting overly super sensitive and REACTIVE to events, statements and relationships that make mountains out of molehills.
Dr. Keith Ablow recently wrote an article on Fox News about this but, IMO added to the general anxiety and fears of the nation. I think he would better serve us if he were more practical and less bombastic. Jesus called us to be peace makers but I admit it is easier to grab an audience an d raise money with fear, anger, bitterness and suspicion that love, joy, peace, patience and prayer. His title was We are raising a generation of deluded narcissists!
What about you? Are you tempted to REACT and attack those with whom you disagree? Do you get mad, sad and want to fight people who support the other side? Or, can you "Give thanks in all circumstances"?
Can you "Bless those who curse you and pray for those who hate you?" Are you a "Peacemaker" or a Peace Breaker"? The Spirit can help us become a "Peaceful Presence" in the midst of an anxious world.
You might find help in my book Breaking Free to be all God Calls you to Be.
A picture of extreme REACTIVITY!