Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How Will You Respond?

If you have turned on the news or listened to the radio either yesterday or today…there seems to be only one thing that everyone is talking about…

The Grand Jury decision on the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO.

It has been all over the place and just about every single person has something to add to the conversation.  Many people are hurt, sad, afraid, but mostly angered…

But how do we respond to that anger?

A little while back I wrote a post in response to the violent attacks that took place at Kroger (you can read that here http://youngsterstheology.blogspot.com/2014/09/an-eye-for-eye.html).

After the Grand Jury’s decision was released, Michael Brown’s family released a statement.  The following is a segment of that statement.

“While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.”

Again, I go back to thinking about the same Marcus Borg words that I reflected on in that previous post. 

How do we respond?

How do we respond when we are angry or upset?

Sometimes we may want to lash out, react, just do something with all that anger!

But when everything settles down….and you calm down… does that accomplish anything?

Was that the right way to handle the situation?

They say hindsight is 20/20…and I don’t think I can look back at my life and honestly say that how I responded when I was angry was a “good” way to handle the situation.  Normally I had to go back and apologize for what I did and the excuse was always, “I am sorry.  I was angry.” 

But, that is not an excuse if you ask me.

I wasn’t acting like myself...I was angry!

But James 1:20 says that angry does not produce the righteousness of God.

There are also numerous places in the Bible that states that we cannot serve two masters.

To me, one way of interpreting that is that we cannot properly serve God if we are angry.  Anger is a master that makes us act out of character and do reckless things.  It is distancing ourselves from God and as James says, we are not producing the righteousness of God when we are angry.

Something else really stuck out to me in the Brown families statement. 

It in, they say they understand that emotions are going to be felt and that people will want to respond emotions.  But again, how do we respond?

They ask that people channel that frustration to make a POSITIVE change.

Don’t just get mad about something that has happened and do something…instead do something ABOUT it.

Growing up…I was a HUGE Michael Jordan fan.  One of my greatest memories was being able to see him play live against the Trail Blazers in 1998 during an exhibition game at the Pyramid.  For a boy going up in that era, you either loved him or hated him.  If you hated him it was probably because you were a Knicks fan.

Anyway, one thing that I was always impressed by was his drive.  He wanted to be a basketball player.  He tried out for his high school varsity team…and didn’t make it.  This angered him. 

His response?

Worked hard and became basically the greatest basketball player ever.

I also remember when I was in high school.  I was cut from my high school soccer team.  I was hurt.  I was not happy.  I was so angry at the decision.

It took some time but I spent the next year working my butt off and tried out again...and I made it.

I know these two examples are a far cry from being on the same level as what is going on in Fergason, but why can we not still apply the same lessons.

If something is wrong or if something angers us…we have a few options in how we respond.

1.     We can just do something out of anger.
But then ask yourself…will you be happy with it later?

And more importantly, were you producing God’s righteousness with those actions?

Or you can do something about it…

Take that anger and channel it towards something that can then help further the Kingdom of God…

How will you respond?

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