Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:2-10 (NRSV)
As a child, I can remember really irritating my classmates with the phrase, "It's opposite day."
This could apply for a multitude of situations. It was useful for insults where I was put down in some way. If I replied, "It's opposite day" this turned the tables on anything they may have thrown my way. I was no longer the recipient of something bad - in fact, my attacker was now the target of his own ire. This is wonderfully powerful in that it allows one to shake off any negativity with one simple proclamation.
This tactic is fairly advanced when you think about it. We are bending reality to our will. I define the universe in my own form or fashion. You say I'm ugly? Not on opposite day. You are actually praising my good looks! You say I'm stupid? Now I'm a genius. You say I'm last picked? I'm actually the first choice.
Can a person actually declare these attributes for him or herself? Does it matter if it is not acknowledged by anyone else?
If it allows me to be happy with who I am and I continue to respect myself rather than feel bad about what someone else has said, I don't see much wrong with it. After all, much of it usually had to do with opinion rather than fact.
Paul uses this logic in a sense when he talks about weakness being a strength in today's epistle from Sunday's lectionary reading. How could one put up with all that Paul had endured? It seems that it would be easy to get down on your mission if you had to deal with shipwrecks, beatings and imprisonment along the way. At some point, you might ask, "God, are you sure you want me doing this? If so, do you think you could make it a little easier?"
One of the ways Christians handle adversity is to reconfigure how we see the world. You say I'm being harassed for my opinions? I say that this is normal for someone trying to change how people think. The adversity becomes a badge of honor. Of course, this is an unusual way to think. It is a way to bend reality to our will.
I look forward to preaching on this scripture on Sunday through my sermon, "Indomitable Will." I'll be preaching at all four morning services and hope that you will join us for one of them! If not, catch us online.
Photo by Doran via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.