Forget What Someone Says to You When They’re Angry

“Never forget what people say to you when they’re angry, that is when the truth comes out.”

This is a common maxim, one that we often assume is true. But is it true? Are people most honest or truthful when they are angry?

angerThe logic is that when someone is angry, their emotions run high and they put down all their guards and reservations. That is the time they reveal what they really think about you. The assumption is that the demands of social propriety and decency cause people to be dishonest about what they really think about other people.

For example, if you’re slightly (or even very) overweight and your friend always compliments you for your good health and always says nice and positive things about you, they are not being honest with you. They are lying to you in order to stroke your ego and protect your feelings. This is true. We are not always honest with our friends in peacetime. But this does not necessary mean that it takes conflict and chaos to bring out the truth.

Anger is not always truthful, and here are a few reasons:

  1. Most of the statements made in anger are hurtful and are designed to be so. The angry person does not just use cutting words because those words are true, but because they are cutting. Continue reading Forget What Someone Says to You When They’re Angry

The Church Bus

busI think the bus is turning out to be one of my favorite classrooms in life. It happened again today, as I commuted to church this morning. We were running late and there was some traffic build up near Westlands. So, the driver decided to take a detour and pass through some back-roads to avoid the traffic. This is illegal by the way, but none of the passengers seemed to mind. We had everything to gain and nothing to lose. Personally, I was already running late for church. Furthermore, this is not the first time something like this has happened. Bus drivers take illegal turns and routes all the time. It’s normal. Except today. We hadn’t gone for more than 200 meters when the driver took a right turn that would lead to a great lesson on the importance of church and fellowship. Continue reading The Church Bus

The Point of Paul’s “Thorn in the Flesh”

thorns_thumb[1]I don’t recall ever hearing a sermon or reading a commentary on 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 in which the speaker or writer did not pause to speculate on what Paul’s thorn could have been. Somehow, the nature of this thorn seems important to us than it was to Paul, who chose not to reveal it. It is easy to get lost in a wild goose chase after theories and exegetical gymnastics that will help us uncover this thorn. But today, as I read through yet another reflection on that thorny passage, a thought crossed my mind: Our obsession with Paul’s thorn is a telling indicator of what we fear most about our own sanctification.

Consider these three famous speculations about the nature of Paul’s thorn: Continue reading The Point of Paul’s “Thorn in the Flesh”

Volunteers in Hell

[Originally written in 2008]

God doesn’t send people to hell, they volunteer.

The names in the lamb’s Book of Life are written in God’s handwriting. The names on hell’s members list are written by the sinners’ own handwriting.

As human beings, our self-preserving gene is famous for magnifying the accusing finger. We are known through-out the universe for transforming ant-hills of guilt into mountains of blame. But the truth is simple; we practice sin, literally. I mean we really do practice sin;

We work it out and work on it.

We meditate on it and mediate for it.

We dwell on it and allow it to indwell us.

We have invited it into our homes and given it a pillow for the night.

Some of us have enrolled to the Sin Gym and are faithful members. Continue reading Volunteers in Hell

Sanctify Them by Your Truth, Father. [“The Sex Files”]

It has come to my attention that my last review of Mavuno Church’s ongoing series, The Sex Files: Living in an R-Rated World came off to many people as being predominantly [and therefore unfairly] negative. It appeared as if I was out to pick out all the flaws in the sermon and ignore all the positive things communicated [ and even nuanced] in the sermon. So, this blog post will focus on one key component of the second sermon which I found useful and worth expounding upon. If you have read my post on The problem with half truths in Preaching, you will hopefully understand my difficulty in acknowledging as positive, those elements of a message that independently sound true but are not based on an overarching sense of Gospel-centrism. Continue reading Sanctify Them by Your Truth, Father. [“The Sex Files”]

Beautiful Mud

I was a loser, drifting through this cursed planet, aimlessly weaving through broken promises.

I was a proud star, scaling the heights of shattered commandments, tip-toeing across sharp pieces of broken trust.

I was a loose cannon, a loud cymbal, a lost cause.

Love was not a word in my life-tionary, even though it dominated my diction-ary.

As brown as dirt, as wavering as dust, as shifty as sand, as hardened as the land.

My life was tainted.

My hope had fainted. Continue reading Beautiful Mud