Friday, December 30, 2011

The Ogre In Us All

“For every person, in every instance, either brief or interminable, cruel or civil, warm or hostile, there will be enough sin in all our relationships that forgiveness is required if they are to continue toward an end that is good” (Bold Love, Dan Allender)

Do you have an inner Ogre? I do. I try to keep it well hidden, and out of sight. But occasionally, the Ogre appears in the form of grouchiness, or cynicism, and usually towards the people I love the most. I hate that part of myself and I work hard to keep it buried. However, every Christmas season, I love to be reminded that my inner Ogre is really just anger, hurt, and insecurity that manifests itself through negative behavior. I do this by watching "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" sometime during the holidays. Say what you want about Santa, but the bigger message in this classic movie is about the flawed little toys, the *misfits* that rescue the Ogre that has been scaring the daylights out of everyone for years. The misfit's are the little toys that didn't make the cut at Santa's toyshop. They find an elf who really doesn't want to be an elf, he wants to be a Dentist. Lo and behold, the Ogre isn't really all that bad of a guy...he just has a tootheache, he HURTS, and society has labled him as a monster. The wanna-be Dentist/elf extracts the offending tooth and suddenly, The Ogres a lovable, furry, critter who befriends the misfits on their journey to find someone to love them.

The Abominable Snowman to me represents those who are very outward in their anger and defiance. He is frustrated, and hurt, and lashes out, all because he's in pain. I know a lot of people who behave abominabally (is that a word?), and fit the profile. Here is where it gets deep: We, as Christians have to learn to recognize this, and respond in love and do this repeatedly, all seasoned well with the grain of a mustard seed. The scriptures say so, yet good Christians seem to ignore this teaching.

"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." - Matthew 18:21-22.

We ALL have to deal with each others inner-Ogre, and helping to heal the hurt by responding in love. Does that mean we are to take what Ogre's dish out? No. You can respond in love and still be honest. Some Christians get this crazy idea that responding in love means to put a smile on your face and endure abuse. No, never... You can respond in love, and still be honest. You just need to be thoughtful in your response and not retaliate. Nothing that someone does to you in anger gives you the justification to reciprocate the same way. We have a responsibility as followers of Christ to hold ourselves to a higher standard. This is our calling. It's what separates us from the world. It's what defines us as *little Christs*.

Recently, I was witness to someones inner-Ogre. It was not the most attractive thing to behold. I had to witness someone I love who refuses to be accountable. This person is a major-league-finger-pointer. So, in love, I told them that I felt their behavior was not only wrong, but damaging to others, and they needed to be accountable. Failure to speak to them about this would only make me an enabler. But I did not say anything about them as a person, simply their behavior. I chose to address the problem with this person, because they claim to be Christian. But their behavior was childish, accusing, and hurt loved ones to the point that a whole family was broken. I had to speak to their Ogre, not them personally. I tried to get to the heart of their hurt. What came out seemed very petty, almost silly to me, but to them, (and their Ogre), it was a big, painful tootheache. God is the dentist and the one who extracts. So I said my peace and now I pray for God to extract their pain, and help them to see how they hurting others because they hurt. I also pray that God shows them that humility in admitting their own weaknesses, will help them to not only heal, but to have the strength to apologize to others, and move forward in relationships. That's accountability, and it is a great virtue!

It's going to be a long haul for the above-mentioned Ogre, but with God nothing is impossible, right? We should all try to find the peace to accept the smaller weaknesses in our brothers and sisters in Christ, but the courage to take on the Ogres, and do it with love. May you find that strength as you journey heavenward.
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