January 28, 2015

Partly cloudy

Fully-alive Living: Hills Worth Dying On: Security

CliffBe honest… sometimes you want to throw other people off a cliff.

I know I’m making a presumption, especially if we’ve never met each other. Even if we have connected in person I would never mean to suggest that you’d ever actually physically throw someone off a cliff.

If I’m wrong about that, lets… um… keep our distance from each other.

What I am suggesting is that you probably can think of a few people that you’re tired of and would like to see them go away. Perhaps you’d never physically assault them, but you’ve considered or enacted other forms of assault – from social gossip to personal attacks that you clothe under the banner of “free speech.”

We’ve become a culture of outrage, especially when something or someone threatens our sense of security. Such outrage is nothing more than self-gratification through feigned indignation. We vent “because we can,” and not because we should.

Recently a musical cast from “The Lion King” busted out into singing “The Circle of Life” while on an airplane during boarding. Look for the video online, as it went viral due to its inspirational and joyous nature.

Unfortunately, some easily-outraged people ranted about it. One columnist wrote that passengers shouldn’t have been forced to tolerate the performance because it put them in an “awkward position.”

What have you been venting about lately? Do you really know which hills are worth dying on?

An article from last November in Psychology Today identifies how personal outrage is typically produced by a combination of anger and disgust. It underscores a time the Bible records when a group of people tried to throw Jesus Christ off a cliff. They liked Him when He said likable things, but the moment he challenged them they drove Him to the edge of town to kill Him.

Luke 4:30 reveals, “But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.”

Thankfully, Jesus knows which hills are worth dying on and can walk through the insecurities of others. We can learn from Him on that and more.

Ready to grow into this?

Hills1It actually begins by considering when you’ve wanted to throw God off a cliff. Perhaps that sounds irreverent, but it’s an honest question. I asked some friends this question, and here were their responses:

“When my mom died… actually, I believe I did throw him off the cliff for a while back then. He found his way back to me though. He always does.”

“Many times. Recently, in fact. Of course, every time I realize it’s not HIM that needs tossed “overboard”- but my flawed understanding of who He is.”

“It’s interesting. When things go wrong for me, I tend to lean on Him more. It’s when things are going well that I treat Him as though I’ve ‘thrown him off a cliff.’”

“I may throw Him off the cliff – even daily – but more important is that He will never throw me off the cliff.”

Even those who don’t believe in God are outraged at what they preconceive of Him. The challenge is we create that outrage in one of two competing ideas:

  • When life is really difficult: We believe He is to blame for all our hurts.
  • When life is really amazing: We believe He isn’t needed since we’re doing fine now.

This is the pattern we can take with other people, too. When our sense of security is threatened or established, we’re tempted to ditch others who were opponents or proponents.

When have you expressed more outrage than you needed to over something?

The Bible passage I referenced follows the famous temptation of Jesus. Christ went up on a hill and experienced three harsh temptations that he overcame:

  • Satisfy his physical cravings: How many times has an urge in your body tempted you to cross a line you knew you shouldn’t cross?
  • Make one compromise for a lifetime of pleasure: Have you ever thought, “It’s not a big deal if I fudge on this one thing if it helps me later, right?” Tax time, anyone?
  • Be thought of well: Many of us spend years pursuing approval through an educational or professional certification. The catch is you can either be known more for the letters after your name or for who you really are.

Hills2Jesus conquered all these temptations by combating them with truth. Instead of dying physically, He died to His sense of entitlement and walked through a mob of people wanting to throw Him off a hill. He could have fought back, but He instead circled back to what matters most: God loves us not because of who we are but because of who He is.

What if the battles you’ve been waging “out there” are more about something you haven’t addressed inside of you?

Until then, see you next week… if not around town.



Tony Myles

Tony Myles

“Fully-Alive Living” offers weekly insights to serve you in taking another step forward in matters of the heart, soul, mind, body, and relationships. With over 20 years of experience and advanced education in working with people of all ages, Tony Myles and his family live in Medina where he serves as the Lead Pastor of Connection Church.

Blog: tonymyles.blogspot.com

Twitter: @tonymyles

Contact email: tony@connectionchurch.org