The First Flash Mob

We live in an age when everyone wants to make some noise.

The news is full of noisemakers, especially during the holidays. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is our new national motto. We’ve become a nation of squeakers, ready to protest, voice our concerns, write our letters, assert our beliefs, call our congressman and speak up for ourselves at the slightest perceived offense.

Speaking out can be a good thing but not divorced from love. Corinthians 13:1 says this: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” We live in a nation of resounding gongs and we’re in danger of becoming a church of clanging cymbals.

James writes these words: “ My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20 Did you get that? HUMAN ANGER does NOT produce the righteousness that God desires!

The world is rampant with actions and attitudes that offend a holy God but when Jesus walked among us, He didn’t come on like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator. He entered as a baby and grew from childhood into manhood. He laughed, He loved, He ate with us and celebrated at our weddings.

He set aside His throne. We can’t even set aside our differences. He laid down His life. We can’t lay down our anger.

Christians don’t have to walk around with scowls and rulers disapproving of every offense against God. That isn’t the life to which we were called. He is perfect in His judgment because He is perfect in His love. We’re still learning this love thing.

I once read that the reason judgment won’t happen until the end of the age may be because our lives continue to have an effect, for good or for evil, even after we have left the earth. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Hitler’s writing continues to inspire Neo-Nazis so the interest on his principle sin continues to compound. Betsie ten Boom, a Christian who died in a Nazi concentration camp where she was sent for harboring Jews, continues to inspire others to acts of bravery and faith so her good works continue to increase.

This explains why we don’t see God acting as quickly as we would like, sometimes, to silence those whose voices truly do offend Him.

I think God’s Son arrived in the night because it was the only time humans quiet down enough to hear God speak. Even the angelic choirs might be drowned out these days by our constant clanging. Just a celestial flash mob we share on Facebook and forget.

This is a challenging issue because we do need to speak the truth, to clearly explain God’s message, to confront others with the nature of sin, and to point out the path that leads to destruction. But love must be the only launch key for the missile of our message or we are simply resounding gongs and clanging cymbals.

Perhaps it’s time to have a silent Christmas season. What would happen if every Christian decided to honor the coming of our Lord by being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry for the twelve days leading up to Christmas?

Maybe our silence would speak to people. Maybe God would speak during our silence. Maybe, in our silence, we would hear God.

Maybe love would have a chance to inform our words and on Christmas day, instead of sounding like a choir of clanging cymbals we would issue forth a concert of Christmas bells that sends the good news ringing across the land.

Let’s pack away anger for a season, shall we? Let’s decorate with love, listening hearts, tongues that speak the truth but with patience, kindness and self-control.

Ever wonder why the silent night was so holy? Bet it had something to do with the silence part. In honor of the season, perhaps it’s time for us to shut up a spell.

Jesus wasn’t afraid to come to us with love and vulnerability, to enter the planet with only a cry. Even before His captors, Jesus was silent. He can empower us to do the same. Let’s offer to Jesus the gold of our silence.

Shhhhhhh! Who’s with me? Can we spend the twelve days leading up to Christmas listening?

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1 Comment

    The Conversation

  1. Maxine D says:

    Ouch and ouch again Lori – I have been/am living in a stressful (and noisy) environment for 6-7 weeks, and there is virtually nowhere I can ‘escape’ and my anger is simmering. Lord help me hold my tongue and be a peace maker!