I SEE GLIMPSES OF ATTITUDE AND ANGER as I read the Bible letters of Paul and try to paraphrase them for the Casual English Bible.
Does he sometimes cross the line and go so far into tickedness that he commits a sin?
I’m pretty sure some Christians would say, “Yessir, he does.”
And they’d say it in spite of the fact that Paul was the preacher who said, “If you get angry, don’t do something you know is wrong. And don’t let your anger fester overnight. Deal with it the day it happens” (Ephesians 4:26, Casual English Bible).
Paul didn’t always seem to take his own advice.
But, of course, God is his judge.
We can only say what we think about quotes like these:
Damnation to you
“Listen people, if we or anyone else ever preaches a version of the Good News different from the one we preached to you—doggone it, if even an angel from heaven does it—I hope that person gets exiled forever from God.
Okay, I’m going to say it one more time. If anyone stands in front of you and preaches a version of the Good News that clashes with the message you’ve already received, let that person be damned” (Galatians 1:8-9, Casual English Bible).
Below the belt
“I wish those circumcision lovers messing with you would just go ahead and cut their whole thing off!” (Galatians 5:12, Casual English Bible).
Shame on you
“What in the world is going on with you….Are you deliberately trying to shame the church by humiliating poor folks who have nothing? What am I supposed to say about this? What do you want me to say? Should I give you a big Amen? Fat chance” (1 Corinthians 11:20-22 Casual English Bible).
Beat and run
“They beat us in front of everyone, without bothering to give us a trial. We are Roman citizens. Yet they treated us this way, and even threw us into prison. Now they want us to go quietly away, as though they did nothing wrong? No way are we going to do that. If they want us to leave, they’re going to have to personally escort us out of here” (Acts 16:37 Casual English Bible).
When we read the stories behind these snippets, many of us would understand the anger. In a similar situation, we might get ticked, too. And we wouldn’t want to see our quotes show up in someone else’s Bible after we’re dead.
What’s the point?
I’m not a preacher. I don’t have to have a point.
I just need to tell the truth, and hope it begins to pry open the heads of people who don’t get much of an opportunity to think for themselves about spiritual matters.
Anyway, if I were a preacher, I’d have at least three points. Apparently, one is for the Father. One for the Son. And one for the Spirit of St. Louis and Everywhere Else. Preachers never really explain why they need three.
- Point one: People get angry, it’s a fact.
- Point two: Paul got angrier than a Denver dad whose daughter came home from prom with her dress on backwards, her purse full of soap products from Motel Six, and a Kansas City Chiefs athletic sock static-clinging to the back of her coat.
- Point three: Calm the dickens down. Since your daughter was born in 2000, the Broncos have beaten the Chiefs 20 of the last 34 games.
Preachers, feel free.
We get angry. Sometimes we get so angry that we cross boundaries.
- We speak words we can’t rewind because they lay like a brand on the brain of the victim.
- We do dumb things like punch a hole in the drywall or in the cheap door from Home Depot. (The expensive doors would crack our knuckles, which would be good for us.)
- We stop kissing on the person we’re supposed to kiss on, as opposed to kissing off.
Stop it. Or start it. Whichever seems most appropriate.
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