The Malice of Four Thoughts part 2

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:14-16)

Everything, all at once

Because that’s what we’re aiming at, yes? Quote, walking in the Spirit, unquote.  Wind up your mind tight as it can go and try and pay attention–full attention–to everything coming across your field of vision (figurative/literal) and categorize, deal with correctly, enjoy, etc., and you will most-likely drive yourself crazy unless you’re a savant or something. And even then, were you to do the very best and right thing in and around everything to which you’re exposed in this life, it doesn’t necessarily mean one gets to know “Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)

When Paul writes to the Galatians and refers to “bit[ing] and devour[ing] one another”, it would seem it comes all too easily should we let slip our attention on the Holy Ghost even as we “walk in Him”. Best not to think about it too much. But then again, how does one keep the influences of hate and wrath (see part 1) and unforgiveness from finding a foothold? Or in the case of “bitterness”, from it “springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15)? And before we go any further, please note that while the Indo-European root for “bitter” is the same as “bite” and means to “split” (bheid-), the root “bheidh-” (one letter, one fricative removed) means to trust. Either one, or the other–but all at once please.

“So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.” (Ezekiel 3:14)

What does bitterness look like in your life? A connotation from Strong’s is “discontent”. Following this line, bitterness looks to be a slow burning and ever-present “chafing” (another descriptor) at ourselves–and by extension, the Holy Spirit. As we are the “temple of the Holy Ghost” (1 Corinthians 6:19), we know He feels all we do and moreso. And just because Ezekiel was “lifted up” and also that “the hand of the Lord was strong upon [him]” doesn’t mean he wasn’t bitter. There’s always a good reason for this kind of bitterness. Others, maybe not. Either kind, however, will end in dividing. Splitting up as it continues to grow and spread. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us see and deal with any bitterness that has heretofore taken root in our system. And replace it with His peace.

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Wheels within wheels

Before Ezekiel experienced what he did, the previous verse reads thus: “I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing.”

I don’t really know what to make of this. Yes, the whole of the Bible is suffused with the symbolic. The first symbolism that comes to mind upon reading the above is that of “lots of activity”. There’s always a-million-and-one things going on. And, referring to unforgiveness, should that “one thing” be an overlooked slight or some offense that is not forgiven and ignored when the Holy Spirit brings it to our attention, eventually, our wheels will stop. Even though we don’t have full access to the depths of our person, He does. And walking in Him to the best of our conscious ability will keep us rolling smoothly.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)

The Malice of Four Thoughts part 1

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” (Galatians 5:14-15)

Nothing to hate but hate itself

Hate never pans out. The scorched-earth policy of hate ends in the annihilation of the person in question. To where they’re barely but a memory. And Paul is talking to Christians. “If ye bite and devour one another…” Just be careful (facetious tone) you don’t eat them up. That’s called cannibalism and I don’t think God allows it but I’d have to read the Ten Commandments again.

Hate is the opposite of love. And so hate comes naturally. Any love in the world has been disseminated from long-ago-even-now from Heaven. The deep stirrings of hate begin to show (at least in me) when I have an unmet expectation. When someone disrespects me for whatever invalid reason. When I’m slighted in traffic. I hate hate. I also hate the devil because it’s of him that we have this. And yet, we’re the ones responsible for maintaining purity of our heart and mind before the Lord. Look what James says: “We love Him, because He first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother (or sister, or anyone for this matter), he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” Don’t hate.

God hath no fury.

“Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them altogether. Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” (Isaiah 27:4-5)

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink…” (Romans 12:19-20a, emphasis mine)

I write this and think about those who have wronged me. I don’t have a life full of scandal with detractors dogging my thoughts and inciting worry and unfounded imagination. I do have people, however, that I’d rather not see in my daily life. And when I wind up my thoughts about them as I go about the minutiae of my day, I inevitably come up against an erected mental barrier that, should I see said individual at some point in the future, no matter the circumstances, the barrier will do its thing in keeping them out. Now, I don’t think it’s good that certain people stay in our lives. Even as we live in the same community, the world is big enough to have “our town to ourselves”, if that makes sense. But for Christian community to form and coalesce, the “wrath”, for lack of a better word, must be dissipated through continued forgiveness and a willingness to “tear down this wall” (how Eighties). Not sure I know what “give place unto wrath” means. Does it mean to let God parse it out where it belongs? God knows. How ’bout this: “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.” (Psalm 76:10)

The Latin term res ipsa loquitur means that it’s our responsibility should an injury occur. Seen in this way, the rule of “res ipsa loquitur” comes into play when we, through neglect and/or laziness prevent God from growing the Body of Christ as He wants. God puts it in our hands to see that the very real things of hate and wrath are dealt with correctly. The blood of Christ is necessary to prevent us from being caught red-handed with hate and wrath and to see them replaced with their counterparts of love and mercy.