Flipping Out

Sometimes we get angry and sometimes we like to justify our anger. Beyond that, we like to justify the actions we take because we are angry or there has been wrong doing. And frequently, we point to a very famous scene in which Jesus becomes angry and expresses Himself. Jesus enters the Holy Temple where the religious leaders have allowed corruption and commerce to take over. People were actually expected to pay for or buy their forgiveness. Jesus looks around, cracks a whip and flips over some tables, causing goods and money to fly everywhere.

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So, in our own angry moments, we say, "Even Jesus flipped the tables." I have said it many times to excuse my actions. My snide remarks, the snarky Facebook comments or even passive aggressive actions. And then it hits me. First of all, Jesus is God and God can do whatever He wants. When I use this one passage to excuse my horrible behavior, I'm blaspheming. I'm no better than the hateful protestors of certain "churches" who shame people groups at funerals and public events.

Secondly, if we really want to be Christ-like, we must look at the entirety of His ministry. In three years of documented ministry, He flipped tables once but we have over 35 documented miracles performed. We have numerous encounters with people committing grave sins where Jesus speaks with them one on one, with compassion and respect and offers complete forgiveness. And yes, Jesus also calls many people out on their stuff - He didn't let people off the hook, but He maintained their dignity in doing so.

The adulterous woman who was thrown before Him and who was likely only wearing a sheet to cover herself was lovingly told to stop what she was doing and get back to living without sin. I doubt Jesus would take to social media to shame her further even though she was acting shameful. When confronting authority figures who were so very corrupt, Jesus often posed questions or made clear statements but did not fling insults. Because like the all other individuals, Christ valued their lives as much as anyone elses. He desires that ALL people come to know Him.

I fear that too many Christians practice the art of table flipping when they might try working a few miracles instead. I'm not sure how to restore someone's sight or hearing but I could pay someone's bill or shovel my rude neighbor's driveway or offer to let the impatient person go ahead of me at the store. Not because they deserve it, but because it's better than flipping out and those actions make a strong point. Not just to the person you help but those watching. We should make a spectacle out of love not hate.

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I'm not implying that Jesus was hateful when He cracked that whip and tossed those tables. I know He's the only one on the planet who could do such a thing and NOT hate. Our sinful human nature often takes over in the face of our anger and we don't behave righteously.