Impatience, anger, pride, bitterness, rage...these are my foe and my bane. I've been watching Lord of the Rings. I always look for metaphor in these great tales. Tolkien being my Brother in Christ, a fellow sojourner on this narrow path, doesn't disappoint in weaving them into the tales.
I put on my own Ring, my sackful of awfulness, claiming its power for myself, intent on doing "good" but instead, wielding my weapons, harming, destroying, bringing strife and discord. And in this way, I function in defiance of the Gospel; in rebellion to the Word:
"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace."
When was the last time, I relinquished my hold on my rights, in order sow peace for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of someone else--even my own family?
Do I stand with Christ in His message of sacrificial love or do I stand for myself, only, wrapped in filth and selfish concern?
What about you, Christ-follower?
It is cruel irony that this season is celebrated and touted by many as one of peace. "Keep Christ in Christmas!" we clamor. And then, when the lines are long and the prices are low and the parking spaces are all filled, we shout different. We push, complain, show no mercy, disregard the very Person whose birth we claim to herald.
My identity as a Minister of Christ--mine and yours--must become central. It must win out no matter what is said or done to me. It must win out no matter who cuts me off or cuts in line or speaks disrespectfully or pushes me aside. I am not called to correct others' mistakes or dole out my own brand of justice. I am called to love--simply and without prejudice.
Our masks--mother, father, brother, sister, wife, husband, manager, employee, customer, business owner, driver, traveler--these are not truly who we are. When we throw them off in lieu for our true selves--Ministers, Ambassadors of Christ--we become who we were created to be.
Today, I aim to take off my masks; to take off my Ring. This season calls for it. My life calls for it. A Holy, Just and Loving Father calls for it. Who, with me, will answer the call?