On Saturday someone mentioned a public figure who was always in a conflict about something. I am assuming that he reacts according to his character. There are so many times that we judge people according to their reactions and when they don’t act like we would have we often consider their reaction to be incorrect. But when are people standing up for their convictions and when are they just reacting out of anger.
Galatians 5:25 – 26 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Clearly we shouldn’t take negative action because of our emotions that are stirred up.
Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your anger.
But look at John 2:13 -16 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of chords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
Usually we hear that Jesus got really angry and cleared the temple of the people who were trading in it. But I look at this piece and I don’t think that Jesus reacted out of anger. He was probably angry at first when He saw what was going on. His emotion was anger, but His reaction was not anger. His reaction was what was fitting for the occasion as well as being a prophetic action. Jesus cleared our all the incorrect activities because the temple is supposed to be a holy place. Just like we cannot serve mammon and God.
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other, You cannot serve God and mammon.”
If our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit according to 1 Corinthians 6:19, then we have to keep our bodies and minds clean and pure, just like the physical temple had to be clean and pure.
But Jesus did not react out of anger because he took the time to make a whip of chords and only then did he drive the traders out. It couldn’t have taken just seconds to make the whip and in that time His anger, or His initial anger would have subsided in the time it took to make the whip. I love crafts and I see therapeutic value in plaiting or knotting a whip. Therefore I truly do not think that Jesus could have reacted out of anger. His actions were definitely pre meditated. Jesus acted on the evidence that He had seen, but He most certainly didn’t react.
We can learn a great lesson out of his actions. Firstly that we should stop and think when we get angry. What if we stopped and plaited a whip before we reacted? How would our reactions change if we took time to do something with our hands? If we do something like squeeze a stress ball before we spoke or acted, it could diffuse a situation that was potentially explosive. Just thinking logically about what is happening can make a big difference.
Proverbs 14:29 He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly.
Proverbs 16:32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Is the public figure who is always in conflict wrong or right? I don’t know because I can’t judge the motives of his heart. But I would give him the same advice I would give all of us: if we get angry we should first stop and plait a whip. Once that is done we can prayerfully decide whether we should use the whip or not.