When I first started a two-week study of hell and judgment right before Christmas, it felt awkward and out-of-place.
After yesterday’s tragic shooting, this topic has become timely.
It is not my place to feel anger for others’ losses. This is my first reaction.
But even as I type these words, I’m not convinced.
Maybe it IS my place to be angry.
Maybe anger is an important step toward action.
What got Jesus really angry?
Crooks in the Temple courts. Hypocritical religious leaders.
Jesus reacted much more strongly to others’ suffering than to his own.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”(Jesus, quoted in Matthew 18:6-7, NIV)
Woe to the Webster shooter. Woe to the Sandy Hook shooter. Woe to the mall shooters.
Woe to the thug, the bully, the abuser.
Woe to the selfish, the self-centered, the self-righteous.
When it comes right down to it, woe to me when I do the wrong thing.
The more deeply I reflect upon what made Jesus angry, the more carefully I consider my own faults.
Thank God for the forgiveness present in the Incarnation of Christ.
Woe to the killers.
Peace and humility to those of us who remain. Teach us to live lives of love, not of woe.