Blessed… Why Are You Hitting Yourself?

And they answered, “He deserves to die!” 67 Then they spit in his face and beat him. They hit him 68 and said, “Prophesy for us, Christ! Who hit you” (Matthew 26:66b-68, Common English Bible)?

These guys are supposed to be the religious elite of their day in Hebrew society. They were the guys who strived to live by the letter of the law. They knew every aspect of the law, tried to follow it but even more than that, they expected everyone else to follow it, even in parts of the law where they themselves fall short.

Then there is this lesson. Well, this lesson and much of this chapter. In yesterday’s lesson, they were willing to accept lies as testimony that testimony meant being able to convict Jesus, get him executed and out of their hair.

When I read this lesson, particularly the part that says, “They hit him and said, “Prophesy for us, Christ! Who hit you,” my immediate thought was “How childish.” 

As I continued to ponder the lesson my mind went back to Saturday mornings when I was little. At least on occasion, my sister and I would run into my parent’s bedroom early on Saturday morning, probably earlier than they would have liked, for a bit of fun and laughter and my dad would tickle us. As part of the fun, my dad would grab me by the wrist and lightly slap my thigh with my own hand. He would ask, “Why are you hitting yourself?” Of course, I wasn’t. He was using my hand to “hit” me. I remember playing the same game with my kids when they were small.

That is where the “High Council” has sunk, playing childlike games, childish games with a man they wanted to be executed and were not going to rest until it could be so.

I never considered my dad’s game bullying. I never felt as though I was bullying my boys (in fairness, they may have seen it differently). I didn’t consider that “game” bullying. Perhaps it was because I was never bullied as a kid. The first time I was challenged to think about that was while watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory when Leonard is talking about his high school bully.  He says, “Yes I know why I was hitting myself.”

My mind when back to that old episode of Big Bang Theory as I was thinking about this lesson. The Pharisees were not only being childish, they are being bullies. They hit a man who could not defend himself. I think that is the definition of a bully.

To me, this part of this chapter serves as a great reminder. When we have the upper hand, it is pretty easy for us to sink into childish behavior. Perhaps it is even easier to become a bully. Neither is what Jesus calls us to do.

We are supposed to be about love. We are called to live. Childishness and bullying just don’t fit the bill.

Have a great day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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