Thursday, May 3, 2012
Passion: Usually implies a strong emotion that has an overpowering or compelling effect. (Originally: suffering or agony, as of a martyr.) Also: Extreme compelling emotion; intense emotional drive or excitement
This morning I am caught up in the whole idea of Passion. Reviewing tonight’s chapter in Mathew, I read ahead through chapter 23 which encompasses one of the most passionate (emotional) “sermons” Jesus has given. Humanly speaking He seems to be at the end of his rope… He cannot do anymore than He has done to turn the tide from the path of destruction for Israel as He approaches His own passion. The Pharisees and scribes have refused to listen and they will take down Israel with them as they turn a deaf ear and hard heart toward Him.
In tonight’s lesson they will be asked the final question: “What do you think about the Christ…?” And they will refuse to answer and they will be forced to stop asking anymore questions. But Christ is not yet through with them and He gives a passionate reminder of all that He has been trying to show them as He ministered among them.
Jesus passion was directed: It had a point. It had a purpose. It was a strong emotion that had an overpowering, compelling effect. It turned them against Him all the more.
But when I contemplate passion I remember the pain it can cause the one having it. I remember and know the feeling that things are not as they should be and needing to correct what is wrong. As a student, I was passionate about grammar and things pertaining to use of the English language. I was passionately ready to correct every wrong. And I did. And I was not very popular for that. (Meanwhile, please do not notice all the errors I make as I write this blog.) :)
Even today, if I hear someone on TV or radio use the word "less" where "fewer" should be I cannot contain myself. I have to correct them, even though they will never know that I did. I also struggle with the misuse of “just” and “only” and public signs that are spelled wrong or use very bad grammar. However, use of the English language has gone the way of the “new math” in the 70’s. There is no such thing as “proper” or “absolute” rules in grammar anymore. Do as you please is the new rule.
One big problem with passion in human beings, especially small ones, is that few people recognize it for what it is: They see pure evil and sin where I see misdirected or totally non-directed passion. A child with passion will grasp hold of something important to them and they will not be able to let it go. They will struggle to make it happen to the point that they hurt themselves and everyone around them. They do not take things lightly. They suffer all things and they do not know what to do otherwise. Neither did I. And I hated that feeling and the ultimate results of it.
That is not to say that children throwing tantrums is not a discipline challenge. For that matter, adults throwing tantrums is a serious discipline problem as well. But redirection rather than rebuttal can sometimes be very helpful. One thing I regret from my childhood is never having a dream or a goal. How much nicer it might have been to be passionate about getting somewhere in life rather than picking apart other people’s lives. Not to mention, wasting my time and energy on just getting by rather than getting somewhere worthwhile.
The ideal, of course, is to help lead a child into passion for Christ. But, even then, they need direction and opportunity to select ways in which to show their passion for Him. I praise the Lord for the opportunities that exist in our church. They run the gamut from sharing a birthday cake with the homeless to spending several months in a foreign land teaching and learning. But most of all they are encouraged to expand their thinking and set goals for action and then work toward those goals for service in Christ.
May we all be diligent in encouraging passion in our families, friends and fellow Christians. May those of us who can, be diligent in speaking up for the things we notice and learn that bring glory to God And may we be so excited for Christ that we downright annoy our friends. :)