Was Jesus Weak?

Last time, I said anger is weak. But in the Temple, Jesus got angry. He flipped tables and drove out the money changers. Was Jesus weak?

What we saw in the Temple was not a weak man’s anger. A weak man defends the faith by getting angry in the face of a challenge, which is not what happened in the Temple. What we saw was Jesus’ zealous anger for His God. Those guys were selling things, in the Temple! Jesus made it clear: a temple is not a place to make money.

This story has always interested me. Obviously this wasn’t the first time that people were selling things in the Temple. I don’t believe for a minute that Jesus didn’t know about it. I think He’d seen it happening for 33 years, basically His whole life. So why did He react that day, and not before?

I think it’s because the Holy Spirit had come upon Him. He finally had authority to drive out the merchants and money changers. I believe that is why He walked into the Temple that day and said, “Enough! This is not a place for this. This is a house of prayer, not a house of sales. I’m not going to let you make money off these people.” I think that was a zealous thing. That was passion. Jesus wanted people to know how great the Temple was, and how special it was. So he cleared it. It was righteous anger. Justice anger.

Jesus clears the templeThe anger Jesus showed that day is the same anger I have when I see injustice take place. When it comes to human trafficking, I can get very angry, and it’s my passion that I’m expressing. Trafficking isn’t right, and I want so much to make it right. It’s my passion to make it right.

There are times when you need what they call “righteous anger.” If I had a chance to storm into a nail salon and free the women being held captive there, I’d do it. That wouldn’t be a time for calm debate. I wouldn’t stop to share the Gospel with the traffickers. I would only say, “What you’re doing to human beings, to all of us, is bad. It’s not okay.” And I would not go into that salon in a way that most people would call “love.” My actions would show love for the women, obviously, but not for the people holding them captive. I wouldn’t be nice. Love isn’t always “nice.”

Jesus made things right in the Temple, and it wasn’t necessarily “nice.” I think that’s what He’s showing us. There is a time and a place for anger. When it comes to dealing with the human heart, you have to do it in love. But when it comes to dealing with a crime against humanity, anger is going to come out. It’s not anger in the sense of hate. It’s the anger that Jesus had when He cleared the Temple.

Think about it. When Jesus was getting whipped and beaten and mocked, He could have reacted in anger. No one would blame Him. He could have pulled Himself off the cross, and no one would blame Him for that either, even if He came down blazing with righteous anger. But that isn’t what He did. He let them crucify Him, and He just looked up to heaven and said, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.” Why did Jesus stay calm? He didn’t get angry because His crucifixion was not about a crime against humanity. It was an issue of the heart, and He was on that cross for a reason. He was there to bring justice.

Sometimes Christians don’t know how distinguish the times that call for righteous anger from the times that call us to create justice through love. We need the Holy Spirit to step in and show us, so we have to ask the Holy Spirit what we’re supposed to do.

See you Monday.

Let’s Set the Captives Free!

Those of us who are not enslaved are so happy to hear about Jesus, who came to set the captives free.  Just imagine how much sweeter His message will sound to the millions who are literally, physically enslaved the world over!

Churches are increasingly participating in the fight against human trafficking, and they should be. Jesus came to set the captives free, so that’s what the church should be doing. Jesus asked people what they needed and then met those needs. That’s what the church should be doing. Our love comes from Jesus, who died so the slaves could be free.

Ask Me and I’ll Help You

Continuing this week with my reflections on prayer:

Prayer is a really important part of our work to end human trafficking.  We have access to God, and God knows the best way to succeed in ending slavery forever.  We can ask Him, and He’ll help us.  So we should ask.  Success will come so much sooner!

Tough Love

When you talk about love, a lot of people will say you’re soft. But love is what saves people. Loving them. If you ask me, that’s pretty strong stuff.

Think of a person who has a mental illness. Probably the best healing resource is just to love on them. They still need other sources of help, but just to love on that person instead of shunning him is going to help him. Maybe more than anything else.

What’s the response to a person that doesn’t have water? Love on them! Get them water. Everybody should have clean water. When you do that, you show them that you love them. The best way to show your love is to help provide this life-giving resource.

There are a lot of things that God shows me, things that are not good. Continue reading

Tough Love

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Love has become “feminized.” When you talk about love, a lot of people will say you’re soft. But love is what saves people. Loving them. If you ask me, that’s pretty strong stuff.

Think of a person who has a mental illness. Probably the best healing resource is just to love on them. They still need other sources of help, but just to love on that person instead of shunning him is going to help him. Maybe more than anything else.

What’s the response to a person that doesn’t have water? Love on them! Get them water. Everybody should have clean water. When you do that, you show them that you love them. The best way to show your love is to help provide this life-giving resource.

There are a lot of things that God shows me, things that are not good. Continue reading

Why I Play

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It was an honor to be interviewed by CNN about fighting human trafficking through Free2Play. It went on CNN International. It went global. Now people in other countries can see that ball players are involved in fighting human trafficking. When you’re able to reach millions of people with one interview, then you’re making a big dent. It’s not the local news!

It all started when CNN contacted Dave Batstone at Not For Sale to discuss human trafficking. He told them about Free2Play, and how we’re trying to get more athletes involved in enlisting people in the fight against human trafficking. Continue reading

Dare to Dream

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I have so much to be grateful for today. I’m a member of an awesome group of guys with awesome fans, and we’re going to the postseason!  One of the ways I can show my gratitude is to use this incredible moment to inspire you to dream the biggest dream you possibly can, and then work for it.

A really big part of our energy and success lies in our ability to dream.  There’s a great line in the movie Grey Owl starring Pierce Brosnan, where the Ojibwe elders tell Archie Grey Owl, “A man becomes what he dreams. You have dreamed well.”

When moms and dads at the ballpark ask me for advice, I always tell them to help their kids dream, and dream big.  That’s what I did as a kid.  I didn’t know if I could be a professional ballplayer, but I dreamed about it anyway.  I could dream any dream I liked!  Back then, I had no idea what a privilege that was.  I’ve learned it’s not the same for everyone. Continue reading