He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,as well as the money-changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” John 2:14-16
My natural tendency when it comes to responding to conflict is flight or freeze – never fight. Fighting does not come naturally to me, particularly in the heat of the moment. Especially with someone aggressive, I tend to get flustered and struggle to find words, even if I am totally in the right.
Knowing this about myself, and knowing how quickly alcoholics can get defensive about the slightest critique, I am ashamed to say there are times I accepted unacceptable behavior from my husband in the name of “keeping the peace.” At least, that was what I told myself. Often, it was really keeping myself out of an unpleasant situation in the short term, and making the lives of everyone involved harder in the long term.
The passage above, where Jesus drives people out of God’s Temple, had always seemed strange to me. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the man who preached love of enemies, violently drives people out of the Temple. It seems like such a different Jesus than the one we hear about in much of the Gospels.
I came to see over time that in this passage, Jesus reveals to me an important lesson: it is wrong for me to stand idly by while someone profanes something sacred. If the alcoholic in my life somehow violates something sacred in our lives – our marriage vows, our children’s well-being, my human dignity – God calls me to confront it, not avoid it.
I know that God does not call me to make whips to drive my husband out (although there are times that does sound tempting). He calls me to calmly draw boundaries when it comes to unacceptable behavior. He calls me to be courageous, not a helpless victim.
How do you fight the good fight in your life?
Copyright 2018 Monica Portogallo