A new phenomenon is hitting the streets of America. Of course, all of us know that tempers are flaring, people are short with one another and there is more divisiveness than we have probably ever seen in this country. It is abhorrent. The news is filled with hate mongers and today a member of Congress was even condemned for being a “white” person. We have really gone over the edge when it comes to the way that we treat each other.
New York has passed laws that make it a crime to use certain words in conversation and there are all kinds of challenges to the first amendment – in fact, many people believe that the first amendment needs to be re-written and that free speech should be modified in such a way as to provide jail time to people who don’t succumb to the pressures of society to liberalize their speech.
Admittedly, I don’t understand what makes people feel that we can just sit down and re-write the constitution or the amendments to reflect the current views of society. These foundational documents weren’t meant to be modified to fit the current political climate or to accomplish any partisan agenda. So, let’s face it, our country is pretty messed up right now.
We have impeachment inquiries, secret meetings, accusations of collusion with the Russians – and untold numbers of other stories that are threatening the very fabric of our country. But now, there is a simple solution for those people who just can’t stand the current climate and need to take out their frustrations in some more tangible physical way. They can now go visit a “rage room.” Yep, they can pay money, don a protective suit, pick up a sledge hammer and enter a room filled with computers, statues, glassware, china dishes, knick-knacks and destroy everything to their heart’s content.
I first saw this on a TV program last week and then again, today, a segment on Fox News from Watter’s World interviewed people who were angry at Trump and the current political landscape. The camera actually followed them into one of these rage rooms and filmed them destroying almost everything in the room they had rented. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Yet, the two participants came out of the experience feeling much better now that they had taken out their anger by creating a scene, and a mess, at one of these new attractions.
All could think of was how stupid this all is. After all, have we been reduced to handing out sledge hammers and protective gear to make sure that we can release our anger by breaking things? This would be vandalism if the patrons hadn’t paid for the privilege of creating chaos. I just can’t figure out what kind of idiot would pay money to do this? But, that’s for another time…
Suffice it to say that people take out their frustrations in all kinds of ways. Clearly, we have become more creative in the avenues we use to achieve self soothing. And society accepts all this with open arms. But that’s not the way that Jesus wants us to behave.
Paul makes it quite clear in the book of Corinthians that once we become believers, we are part of the body of Christ and we are also of the mind of Christ. In other words, we are linked with other believers to form one body with many parts, each one important to the work of the whole.
Paul also makes it clear that we are not to go the way of the world but that we are to link ourselves with other believers to emulate a lifestyle worthy of Christ. And instead of destroying things, I believe that God would rather have us pray to Him – for peace, or deliverance, or whatever are the desires of our hearts. It sure beats spending money to destroy stuff in a rented room, doesn’t it?
Our verse for tonight comes from another of Paul’s epistles. Paul writes his young pastor friend, Timothy, telling him in 1 Timothy 2:8, “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” Paul would rather have us be lovers than fighters. Disputing and anger don’t solve problems – they create and escalate them.
My encouragement this evening is that Paul wants to remind us that prayer is the answer for us today, just as it was thousands of years ago. That’s because God is steadfast and the same today as He was thousands of years ago and will be thousands of years from now! My prayer is that we may come together and start to heal our differences without the physical violence that we see all around us. Even if it is breaking things with a hammer in a room, that just isn’t the way to release our stresses. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…