Allegations, Outrage – and a Grip on the Vital Issues

If you happen not to be in a coma, and if you’re not so ‘off-the-grid’ that WikiLeaks and the Russian hackers can’t find you, then you’ve likely had recurrent visits lately from emotions you’d rather avoid, like anger, frustration, disgust, disappointment, and for some, maybe even despair. We Christians in America struggle with what to do and want to find some grand, powerful and victorious response to the unprecedented challenges facing us these days. If that’s true for you, perk up. This isn’t new stuff. Those early followers of Jesus had exasperating struggles like that, too, and while we still have a modicum of sanity, it might be worthwhile to get some tips from Him.

In the midst of Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem, two of His followers encountered an inflammatory incident. They wanted Jesus to authorize a devastating and decisive retaliation against their opposition, so they made a bold and radical request. There was a customary travel practice used by groups who traveled in that day, and one of them went sour. Groups would send emissaries ahead to upcoming towns on their route to prepare accommodations. When Jesus’ emissaries came to Samaria, they, along with the One who sent them, were rudely repulsed. Luke doesn’t offer details, but the Samaritans’ rejection was apparently more egregious than just being inhospitable and inconsiderate. Maybe they used foul, socially unacceptable language. Maybe they included wild, unverified allegations about Jesus’ or the disciples’ behavior. Maybe they were spreading things about them that weren’t true. Maybe James and John were just sick of unprovoked disrespect from godless people and wanted to do something to fight back.  In any case, when they came to Jesus, they had had enough and had a plan to do something about it.

With apologies to Luke, let me offer ‘Gallagher’s Not-Quite-Inspired, Contextually Adjusted Paraphrase’ of their request…

“Lord,” they said, “we’re fed up with these people. Those Samaritans are a bunch of arrogant, ungodly, egomaniacs, and they’re publicly mocking you. We need to send them a message they can’t ignore, and that others will never forget. We want the power to call down fire from heaven just like Elijah did and fricassee the whole crowd—turn ‘em all into crispy critters, just like Sodom and Gomorrah. What do you think?” (Luke 9:51-54).

It’s tough when you’re looking for applause and get smacked with an embarrassing put-down, but that’s what happened to them. Jesus not only refused to acquiesce to their vindictive battle plan, He countered it with a strong rebuke. The specific content of that rebuke is not revealed, but here’s His conclusion: “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of… (Luke 9:55 NKJV). Their human instincts were drawing attention away from the larger picture. There were issues at stake much more vital than the racial conflict at the core of the Samaritan incident, more important than their rude, demeaning behavior, and certainly more crucial than the loss of any travel amenities – and the disciples needed to see that.

Even in the presence of the Lord, Himself, it was easy for them to get so caught up in  the swirl of emotionally incendiary minutia that they lost sight of the more important issues. Jesus reminded them, and us, that the warfare we’re engaged in and the battles we fight are spiritual, and the larger picture must be kept in focus regardless of transient, superficial distractions. In light of that, there are some things we would do well to consider in this wildly contentious election season. Amid the blinding fog of allegations, accusations, blatant corruption, and the infectious plague of power and greed, it will be hard, but we must get a grip on the issues that are vital and long-term.

  • Jesus’ rebuke brought them back to the spiritual nature of the conflict. There aren’t a dozen different ‘spirits’ at war here, only two, and we don’t need to elaborate extensively on who they are. Suffice it to say that they aren’t the ‘Republican spirit’ and the ‘Democratic spirit’. Like James and John, we get angry and frustrated, and sick of the abuse hurled at us, and our desire to retaliate is understandable. The other side does need to be taught a lesson, but not the kind of lesson our fallen nature would dictate. They do need to be hit with some fire from heaven, but they need a redemptive fire, not a destructive one. They need to see and hear an unyielding passion to live out a message that saves, builds, redeems, and preserves life. There is no place else for them to get that message if we fail.
  • Jesus’ rebuke of His beloved followers was not a statement of approval for anything the Samaritans did. Their twisted brand of Judaism was repugnant to God, but His desire was for their salvation, not their destruction. Jesus was headed to the cross to make that possible because no amount of judgmental fire poured out on them could do it. For us, keeping the cross in view means more than just condemning offensive actions and tactics. It means contrasting them with a message of hope and redemption. It means replacing them with something better. Light offers something the darkness can never create, and that it cannot resist.
  • Keeping the cross in focus does not mean running away. Jesus entered the enemy’s arena and engaged him where he was. We are sent to do the same, and if we refuse, then who else can? The challenge is overwhelming, but David didn’t defeat Goliath because a rock is better than a sword. Victory depended on trust, courage, obedience, and a willingness to die rather than hide in the hills, like everyone else.
  • The vital spiritual issue in this election is not Hillary’s crimes or Donald’s behavior. It is the future of the Supreme Court. It is the judges they appoint, not the individual candidates, who will decide what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ for America. That means that those of us who vote, then, are the ones really making that vital, spiritual decision.

This election must not be about who we ‘like’ or whose actions we approve. It’s about whether we will have judges who can discern which bathroom to use, who know what constitutes a marriage, and who know that the little heart beating in a pregnant woman’s womb belongs to a human being. Not to vote for Donald Trump in November is to willingly grant judicial power to those who can’t figure those things out, and who fiercely oppose all that we believe.

© 2016 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S.  All rights reserved.


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© 2016 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S.  All rights reserved.

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About Ron Gallagher, Ed.S

Writer, Speaker, Bible Teacher, Humorist, Satirist, Blogger ... 'Right Side Up Thinking ~ In an Upside Down World' . . . For Ron's full bio, go to GallaghersPen.com/about/
This entry was posted in Faith and Politics, In the News, Insights, Right Side Up, Wake Up Calls and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Allegations, Outrage – and a Grip on the Vital Issues

  1. Thanks, Ron! I thought you might be interested in Intercessor for America. I’ve joined and find their information very helpful. Here’s a link: http://ifapray.org/

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    • Thank you, Beckie. I appreciate your comment, and for including the heads-up about Intercessor for America. I think I’ve heard of them somewhere, but will definitely check them out. God bless you for using your influence in these days when our future is in such jeopardy, and when God’s people seem so confused, disoriented, distracted, and disengaged.

      Like

  2. Marsha Sorg says:

    Thanks Ron for shedding light on the madness and the circus we have to look at until the election is over.

    Marsha Sorg

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    • Your words, and the heart that attends them, are such a welcome blessing in these challenging days, Marsha. You are a continual source of encouragement, and that is a commodity that seems in short supply among Christians right now. Please don’t lapse into the defeatist mindset the leftist propaganda machine is trying to force everyone into. Remember that the darkness has no intrinsic power to advance itself against the light. It can only take over the territory that the light abandons. I know you’re a fighter, Marsha, so keep the prayers in the forefront, and never give up.

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