Talk or Resent

On a clergy retreat I read an article by a Buddhist monk. The article was titled: “talk or resent.” At the time he said this, he reminded us that two small boys laid in an Israeli hospital. One was Osher Twito, 8, an Israeli boy seriously wounded by shrapnel from a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza. The other boy next to him was Yakoub Natil, 7, a Palestinian who was brought there weeks previously from Gaza City after he was badly hurt by shrapnel from an Israeli Air Force strike in January. The Monk said, “Here, the conflict’s pain has been compressed into an improbable intimacy.” To the leaders of those countries in conflict he said: “Talk or resent and remember the cost of
resentment as you look at these beat up kids.”

As a last ditch effort 7 years ago, I referred a man and woman to a counselor. She complains that he never talks. He complains that she talks too much. She wants him to be more outgoing. He wants to spend more time in his workshop. After many moments of listening the counselor brings them to this reality: “Talk or resent. Together lets find a better way.” And the three of them begin a long journey.

In the church I served for 23 years, in the third pew to the left from the back, a man came in and sat down every Tuesday morning. He would not be caught dead on Sunday because of long standing “issues” with God. His health was bad for some time. On one Tuesday morning he spoke with me as I passed through an empty sanctuary. I’m glad we were alone. He suddenly did something that Sunday school never taught him as a child: how to speak about the anger that he had for God and how he resented God. He had lived with the vague notion that if you do the right things in life that
everything will be okay. He had kept his side of the bargain and God had not and he let God have every ounce of his anger and resentment on that day. His outburst was followed by silence. He learned in time that God is not interested in us “managing” anger or resentment, but is interested in us letting it rip in a safe place. He told me that after “getting all that off my chest” that, in a strange way, he felt God near. He said, “I discovered God could absorb my anger without killing me for doing so.” When you expel your anger toward God, God understands where that comes from. When
you are understood, you are forgiven. God specializes in giving your life back to you whole if you will speak the truth, anger and all. After that, we spoke often, on Tuesday,
never on Sunday. I teased him about his “private Tuesday church.” We both laughed. Every time we spoke after the day of the great outburst, I could see Easter in his eyes.

Peace to you in the Season of Easter
Dr. Richard A. Wing, Co-Pastor