Jesus lost it – really lost it – once in the Gospels … Well … Maybe twice.
When he overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple (John 2:13), he apparently displaced property that was not his. When he verbally lashed out at the Pharisees and the teachers of the law (Matthew 23), he could certainly be accused of name-calling. After he tongue-lashed the Pharisees, he bares his soul. His deepest concerns are revealed as he calls out to those he has chastised and proclaims how intensely he had desired that they all would come together. And after he made the whip and drove out the money changers, he is immediately engaged in dialogue. His anger arose out of his ‘zeal for [his] Father’s house’ – it was to be a place of prayer for all, not a market for commerce.
When Jesus ‘loses it’, he doesn’t acquire an arsenal, purchase ammo, and strategize how to take out as many people as possible. In fact, he stands as an extreme example of just how different are the ways of the Spirit from our ways. He ‘loses it’ by offering himself as both the evidence of how pointless violence is, and how powerful and compelling the vision of the “New Creation” can be. One thing he does not do, however, is sugar coat the cost. He doesn’t make NRA-like promises that suggest you will be safer by open-carrying a bible. In fact, he makes it clear that the majority of the work that we will engage in is within our own soul. It’s hard work to let the Spirit transform us from within.
We have ‘lost it’ in this beautiful land of ours. We have bowed to political extremes and convinced ourselves that violence can win the peace. In both our actions and our rhetoric we have yielded the higher ground such that people who already lack mental and spiritual balance find a kind of sick sense of commissioning – a reason for being – as they enter our shopping malls and schools and restaurants believing in some messianic mission that gives them permission to open fire.
What do you do when you “lose it”? As you begin this day, are you on the edge? Is there a situation looming at work or in your family that threatens your peace? Are you in danger of compromising the power of love today? Contemplate what Jesus did and why. Don’t permanently cut the chord of dialogue. Let it out – but be conscious of the example you are setting.
And … try not to be the reason someone else loses it. Make it a good day.