by Doe West
At times like this [in the wake of the latest mass killing], we, Christians and others, get asked the worst questions–from other people and ourselves: Must we forgive? This? HIM?!
Ephesians 4:31-32 – 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
We read those words and may even taste some bile in our throats that rises with those words hitting deep in our pain.
I have been called a red letter Christian … preaching from and turning to the words of the Christ over the words in the Old Testament. But I do read all the words … and I do preach from the Old Testament … but it always surprises me when the Old Testament helps me with the New Testament.
Isaiah 43:25-26 25 I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. 26 Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.
Yes, Father God, let us argue the matter.
And how I would love to hear the case for this mass murderer’s innocence… and mine, as I deal with my anger toward his behavior.
I realize that I cannot hate or be angry with him for I know only what is printed about him and his life and his preparation for that night. Which is nothing I can know much less prove.
What I feel is the anger / rage at is his behavior.
In all my decades of learning and work –as Pastor, as Counselor, as Professor – I find one path for escaping from the constant on-state of pain during such times is by engaging my mind with my emotions… using contemplation and consideration as a rope walk up from that pit of rage.
I learned a phrase when working on a grant at the Harvard School of Public Health when we were doing investigation and debate of findings on some unknown pathogen … pathogens of body or mind or behavior: What do we think? —- what do we know? — what can we prove?
So often we get stuck at what we think but do not know.
Or know but cannot prove.
In my next posts, I will share what I think and what I know and what I can prove, and how these insights may help all of us,