What do you do when you are upset? It is fascinating to me how differently we humans handle our pain. Have you ever heard of “fight or flight”? While there are other ways to handle pain, fight or flight are two common ones. The fighters among us tend to get aggressive and confront the pain or the source of pain. “Like a bull in a China shop,” we say. I have great admiration for the fighters among us, because I am much more a flier. It is super difficult for me to confront a situation. I can barely admit to myself when I get hurt or angry, because if I don’t admit I’m hurt, then I don’t have to do anything about it. We fliers run away from pain, escaping toward wherever peace can be found.
What about you? Are you more fight or flight? When Paul talks about “speaking the truth in love,” in Ephesians 4:15, the fighters among us tend to emphasize the truth side, and the fliers tend to emphasize the love side.
Maybe you are neither of those. Some people a passive-aggressive, which is a unique mixture of both fight and flight. Years ago we were at a local professional baseball game with my extended family. The ballpark is very family friendly, including a playground for kids. Toward the end of the game, my brother told one of my nephews, who was about 3 or 4 years old, that it was time to be done on the playground, and my nephew was not happy about it. So you know what he did? He clammed up, and sat on the ground like a rock. That’s passive aggressive. My nephew didn’t fight it, and he didn’t run away. He just plopped down, unresponsive, forcing my brother to go over and pick him up. We adults can be passive-aggressive, too, can’t we? The comments under our breath. The rolling of our eyes. The gossipy emails. Unwilling to confront a situation face-to-face, but not avoiding it either.
Which of these do you think God is like? Look at Jesus. What do you notice? Fight? Flight? Passive-aggressive? None of them? This week as we study Ezekiel chapter 19, we’re going to see how God handles his pain. Because it is Ezekiel, you know it is going to be unique! Read it ahead of time, and then I look forward to discussing it further with you next week. This chapter of Ezekiel has loads of practical application for us.