(First published February 8, 2012)
You’ve been going through a lot. I get it. Some of it matters, some of it doesn’t. And you know that. But still, you’ve been going through a lot. And you just said, “The next person who crosses that line is going to get smacked.”
What concerns me is that when you say that, when I say that, we just decided to be belligerent. We are ready to vent with whoever that is. We are ready to take all the tension of the last week, all the arguments from everyone, all the things that broke today, from fingernails to transmissions to hearts, and put it in bucket. We’re going to put that bucket above the door and tie a string to the doorknob. And if we forget to fasten the bucket firmly and it falls rather than dumps, well, sorry. Sometimes things like that happen. Like to our transmission.
In that time between placing the bucket and the next person coming in, we really don’t want to stop and read Paul’s caution: Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
This comes in the middle of several similarly painful comments that make you want to make Paul himself be the next guy through the door. What does he know about conflict, about transmissions, about people who seem to delight in making your life miserable? After all, he’s the great apostle.
But he also is the guy who ran into hecklers and false accusations and angry mobs everywhere he went. He’s the guy who weeps because he cares so much. That’s who says “wage peace.”
How’s he do it? God only knows.