It’s All Greek To Me (Newspaper 7-23-16)

I was sitting in my office this past Sunday morning (7-17-16), preparing for our Sunday services to start, when news came across my computer screen of more police officers being attacked, this time in Baton Rouge, LA.  To say it effected me is a large understatement.  Before the news broke, I was in a great mood, looking forward to worshiping and spending time with those that would be joining us that morning.  After, the only way I can describe it was complete heartbreak. 

I posted the following on my personal Facebook page moments after reading the first reports:

“My heart is breaking for this world. Another attack on police officers, this time in Baton Rouge. And I think what is breaking my heart more than anything is that Christians are not rising up unified doing what we need to do. We are fighting amongst ourselves, over what differences we have in our doctrines, instead of trying to introduce a lost and dying world to Jesus. Jesus is the only thing that can make any of this better, but instead of trying to proclaim Him, those of us that profess to follow Him fight with each other and keep Him to ourselves. IT’S TIME TO STOP! Whether you’re liberal, conservative, or somewhere in-between in your political views, I think it’s time that we come together as Christ followers. There will always be things that we disagree with each other over, but one thing, and one thing only should unite us. Jesus is King, and those that don’t know Him as such need to be introduced to Him. There will always be pain and suffering in the world, but when are we going to rise up and do our part by living out our Christianity in such a way that others want what we have? Pray for this world, pray for Baton Rouge, but also pray for opportunities to share Jesus with someone today…and then do it.”

I have had even more time to digest what is going on in our world today, and want to take a few moments to address it.  It is not that I think I am any smarter than anyone else, but it seems obvious to me that whatever we are doing now is just simply not working.  And it is not just these shootings that seem to be popping up everywhere.  It is any time the subject of politics is brought up.  We are so determined to be “right” that we forget we have to find our common ground.  In doing some research for another project, I came across a ancient Greek word that we really do not have a good translation for, but when the idea is fleshed out a little, I believe it speaks to exactly the problems that we are facing today.  Bear in mind, I do not claim to be a Greek scholar by any means, but stick with me for a moment.

The Greek word in question is metriopatheia.  The ideas that follow come from William Barclay’s commentary The Letter to the Hebrews in the section on Hebrews 5:1-10.  He says that the Greeks used this word “as the mid-point between extravagant grief and utter indifference.”  Barclay quotes W. M. Macgregor, saying, “the mid-course between explosions of anger and lazy indulgence.”  Again, Barclay wrote that Macgregor spoke of it as “that sympathetic feeling which enabled people to lift up and to save, and to spare and to hear.”  Finally, Barclay describes it in his own words as, “It means the ability to put up with people without getting irritated; it means the ability not to lose one’s temper with people when they are foolish and will not learn and do the same thing over and over again.  It describes the attitude which does not get angry at the faults of others and which does not condone them, but which to the end of the day devotes itself to offering gentle yet powerful sympathy which by its very patience directs people back to the right way.”

I will leave you to draw your own conclusions, except for this question; Would the world not be a much better place if we all learned to live with more metriopatheia?

Thoughts from a Crosseyed Jesus Freak

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