God’s Quiet Authority 

Everyone seems angry. We’re all on the verge of an outburst evidently. Folks shoot each other over parking spaces, or something just as trivial. They rant over the slightest perceived offense. We’ve witnessed the decay of social interaction to the point where being in a perpetual state of outrage has become the new normal. We’re cocked and loaded. We’re ready to riot in the streets at a moment’s notice. We see people set fire to cars and loot buildings which accomplishes nothing but the destruction of someone else’s property. If you’re involved in social media, our thin skins are most clearly revealed in the comment boxes of Facebook, Twitter and other sites. The “shield” of the computer seems to open the floodgates of our perceived offenses. We’re petty and mean to one another.  

Surely there are occasions when each of us is within our rights to feel that we’ve been treated unfairly. We’re all human and we all can say or do things that hurt or offend someone else. We’ve each experienced being treated unfairly. When that happens, we feel as if we’re not being respected. So when that happens, what’s a Christian to do?

We know that Jesus told us that we should “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39) in response to our enemies. Certainly we see Jesus do this as He endured suffering at the hands of those who sought to destroy Him. He was arrested and did not defend Himself. He was put on trial and beaten and did not defend Himself. He was crowned with thorns and nailed to the Cross and He did not defend Himself. In fact, He prayed for the men who were killing Him as He was dying. And by His lack of self-defense, Jesus beautifully revealed to everyone the glory of the Father.  

Sometimes our silence reveals our true power in a situation. Remember those playground bullies who got their kicks from tormenting kids? Their power came when their victim got mad or cried. If they didn’t get that “reward” the bullies would move on to someone else. So when we respond to the attacks of the world with silence, we reveal that it’s not the world that has authority over us, but our Father in heaven. Just as Christ revealed to us in His Passion, silence is sometimes the greatest display of power.  

We’re so quick to respond to the anger that others show towards us with anger of our own. But when we do this, we’re no better than the world. That snarky comment that we post on Facebook reveals a heart that has given authority over to the world. When we’re tempted to respond to others in anger, we should ask ourselves who has authority over us—God or the world?

How different might our culture be if everyone was silent in the face of anger? Imagine how quickly most of our “outrage” might evaporate if we all took a deep breath and remembered how Jesus dealt with being treated unfairly. If we’re tempted to yell, to gossip, or to speak angry words to those who are angry with us, we can reveal God’s authority in our lives by staying silent. In this way, we set ourselves apart from the world and its angry, confrontational ways.  

“Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent.”

     —-St. John of the Cross

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brian H. Gill
    Jul 16, 2017 @ 23:30:32

    Well-said. I’ve spent, wasted, much time and effort getting angry. Unlearning those responses is not easy: but worth the effort, I think.

    Reply

  2. Robbie @ Use Resources Wisely
    Jul 17, 2017 @ 21:44:09

    Thank you. More people need to take this to heart.

    Reply

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