Earlier on this evening I almost lost my temper. It was quite a scary thing for me, it’s been a very long time since I was last angry, rather than annoyed or irritated.
While I was talking it through with a friend who said “I love life right now” I responded, in a grumpy manor “I’m so angry with life right now, I want to punch it in the face till it doesn’t have any teeth yet.”
Which, if you extend the metaphor would lead to talking about Passion.
See, anger and passion are related. Closely. According to Google, one should define passion like this ”
- Strong and barely controllable emotion.
- A state or outburst of such emotion.
Spot on. Passion is a strong, powerful emotion, that is barely controllable. However, it can still be controlled and used effectively.
An example that suits fairly close to my mood just now – Jesus in the Temple, this is a story almost all Christians have heard of, and a fair few non-Christians know of it as well.
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus at the Temple
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
A remarkably short account right, the Bible generally attempts to convey things with out emotional context, but just imagine how angry Jesus must have been, to walk into the temple, and start flipping tables and benches. That’s serious anger. Yet, Jesus doesn’t lose control. He is angry, but it isn’t uncontrolled, that emotional energy is focused into removing the cause of his anger – people abusing the temple. He focuses that anger down into a passion – he is passionate about clearing the temple.
What is the route of Jesus’ passion here?
Love for the temple – the House of God, the fact that is is being degraded and abused in this way upsets him greatly.
Compassion for the people being cheated of money.
Anger at the people abusing the faith of others, exploiting their respect for God as a means of making money.
So he moves to the route of the problem and deals with it. His solution does two things – it gets rid of the people he wants rid of, and it attracts the attention of just about everybody else in the temple.
This is where passion comes in handy – people see passion and respond to it. Think about a friend who is passionate about something – that friend who loves music or wood work, or mountain biking or anything! So much that they divert every free moment into thinking about it, planning it and performing it.
These people gain respect and become well known for their passion.
Jesus was passionate about people. He turned all of his emotion into constructive, useful action. Instead of sitting around at home and moping about how broken the world was, he set out to fix it. Instead of muttering about the people in the temple he got stuck in and dealt with them, and in the process drew the attention of a large crowd for him to speak to about the nature of God.
So where was I? Passion, punching out the teeth of life, that’s right! I was about to make a point.
My point was this, to much of emotion is used negatively. To much of what we feel becomes destructive and hurtful. When was the last time you said something you later regretted because of what you felt?
Well, not all “negative” emotion is bad. You can feel sad, angry, frustration and guilt that can all be healthy, because of what you do with the emotion.
Next time you get emotional about something, turn that emotion into passion, and that passion into an action! When you get sad about something, get upset! Take that emotion, that energy and use it to create something, rather than harm something.
Life is full of emotion and passion, controlling your emotion, and being passionate about living, being happy and knowing God is how you can genuinely make a difference. No contribution is insignificant, or goes unnoticed. Act, while you can.
Thanks for reading.