Some point to Jesus’s courageous overthrow of the temple marketplace as an example of the sort of fiery, aggressive, impulsive instincts every man should nurture. But before we get our own temple rage on, we need to be reminded that this incident wasn’t a spontaneous burst of masculinity, but a purposeful fulfilling of Jesus’s mission. Jesus was claiming his right to be worshiped as King, cleansing the temple for His Father. This was the next event in salvation history, a necessary move as Jesus made His way to the cross. It was in the temple where Jesus demonstrated His lordship. His rage at the religious profiteers was a demonstration of kingdom justice. Their greed preyed on the poor and prostituted the sacredness of God’s house. Even as He brandished the whips, Jesus was in full control of His emotions. He knew exactly what He was doing.
Though the conversations are both sad and tragic, I do learn from them. And after dozens, perhaps a few hundred, of these conversations, I see patterns. These patterns become warning signs for any of us, lest we be so naïve to think we have no vulnerabilities.
Because the conversations were informal, I cannot say for certain which among them were the most frequent warning signs. So I provide them in no particular order.
To keep from letting the news cycle rob our joy, we can redeem the news through prayer. “Praying the news” can be a practical way to shift our focus from the temporal events of our fallen creation to our eternal Creator who can heal our broken world.
Nevertheless, things are not always so simple and tidy. Beyond the scope of the text I preached on that day, we must also have an answer to the situation of how to respond to a person who refuses to recognize what they have done wrong, and who is refusing to repent and not seeking forgiveness. Does forgiveness make sense in such a situation? How do we follow Christ in that sort of painful situation? We cannot control the other persons behavior and actions, but we are responsible for our actions and reactions.
It’s tragic that this link has been made in people’s minds. But I understand why: it’s a link that’s often been at the forefront of my mind too. If heterosexuality is godliness, the big change that’s most been needed in my life is for me to become heterosexual. So I’ve prayed hard and searched hard for an effective antidote to my same-sex attraction. The pursuit of holiness has nearly always equaled the pursuit of heterosexuality for me.