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Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Today’s Reading | Mark 3:19b–35
Then he went home; and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (NRSV)
We’ve all been there. It’s a nonstop day; self-care is on the back burner; blood sugar drops; and then something or somebody challenges our last strand of patience. For me, it’s probably the worst time for me to handle any conflict or drama.
Jesus probably experienced this, too. He finally returned home in hopes of grabbing a bite to eat after healing the sick, answering accusations from the Pharisees, and attempting to dodge the crowds that followed him. But there was so much chaos outside his door that needed to be dealt with first.
It was pretty outrageous. Jesus was accused of being commissioned by Satan to cast out demons. But he wisely pointed out that their equation didn’t make sense. In a fight of Satan vs. Satan, the only way Satan can win is by defeating himself, meaning winner = loser.
What a great equation to think about. What are my battles? How do I fight them? For example, if I choose to fight fire with fire, then I can count on a pile of ashes as the result. Is that what I want? In a kin vs. kin dispute, the only thing I can guarantee is that the family loses every single time.
Sometimes I get caught up in reacting to a situation instead of strategically considering that important equation. But the battle of reaction vs. reaction will always mean that winner = loser.
What about PROactiveness?
If I want love, compassion, kindness, and understanding to stand even a 50 percent chance of being victorious, it needs to be what I choose to bring to the table. And since I can’t control others, it especially depends on me.
Dear God, help me choose my part of the equation wisely so I stand a chance at making a win-win situation. Amen.
Written by Beena David, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
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