You suck.

you-suck

 

Anyone who eats blood must be cut off from their people.’”  Leviticus 7:27

For the past several weeks Jan and I have been watching the 90s/00s cult favorite show “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.”

It’s our third time.

The show may or may not be your cup of comedy/horror/drama, but we tend to rank it as some of the most clever writing ever on TV.  I’m not recruiting new fans, so don’t go snooping on my account.  I just wanted to explain why I’ve got vampires on the brain.  (on the neck?)

In the show, vampires are evil.  Mostly.  They are undead creatures that literally suck the life out of their victims.  I am convinced that you and I have some vampire in us.  I’ve never met someone who doesn’t.  In our most unhealthy moments we can leech other people’s energy and power. We’re needy like that.

I can recall a dating relationship from my high school and college days.  I could never figure out why we stayed together so long.  We always fought, we weren’t compatible.  We didn’t even much like each other.  She’d hurt me, and I’d hurt her. It wasn’t healthy, but for some reason we just kept feeding off each other. It was a bloody mess.

In my later life, there were times when I felt weak, helpless, and powerless.  Instead of asking for help or reaching out, I found myself manipulating people to my own ends,  unhealthily trying to steal their trust and energy.  I’ve scared a few people away that way.

Think about the energy flow between you and others.  Who gets fed from the relationship, and who leaves feeling a quart low? When a healthy balance of give and take doesn’t exist, who is feeding on you, or who do you find yourself stealing life from?

In Leviticus, we learn about ancient Israel’s system of sacrifice, in this case, a pigeon:

 The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off the head and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. –Leviticus 1:15

This was how people dealt with their sins and deficiencies, by splashing the blood of an animal against the altar, and barbecuing the meat as an offering to God.  All the way up through the time of Jesus, this was the practice.  We look at this as an archaic and perhaps misguided practice, but instead of stealing an animal’s blood and energy, today we tend to steal each others.

Do you think this pleases God?  Not at all.  No more than killing animals as an empty sacrifice did.  Blood, more than anything, must be associated with life.  God given, precious life.  To misuse another’s life is to deny God’s purpose and power.

The next time you feel that unholy thirst to take what isn’t yours, look at the cross.  It repels vampires, after all.  And as for blood?

Jesus is offering his for free.

Have a great week,

Mitch

BuffyReligion

 

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The Grudge

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I’ll admit it.  It bothers me.

It bothers me to think that there may be people out there who hold grudges against me.

Who could they be?

*Maybe that couple I did a baptism for and almost dropped their baby.

*Or the high school girlfriend I abruptly broke up with.

*Maybe that person whom I made a really awesome joke about, but at their expense.

*Come to think of it, as someone who preaches without notes on a Sunday morning, there could be countless people who may have been offended by something I said or did.

Just think about it.  Out there in the world, there may be dozens of people who hold a grudge against you.  Some you may know about, but some are a mystery.

Doesn’t it just make your skin crawl?

It’s not just the idea that people may think this way about you.  It’s the idea that you have caused pain to someone else, perhaps even unintentionally.

It can weigh on you.

Almost as much as it does to hold a grudge against someone else.

Can you make a list of the people you hold grudges against?  An old teacher, a college roommate who let you down, a coworker who stepped over you on the ladder to success?

I’ll bet there are a few there, on your list.

Funny things, grudges.  It’s no fun to be on either side of one.

In Leviticus 19, God says,

“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

God knew, way back then, of the pain and damage grudges could cause.

And indeed, we see it play out time and again, amongst brothers, between parents and children, and would-be-kings.

Everything from bruised egos, to betrayal, to hurt feelings, to malicious intent.

One of the most famous grudges of all is the one that Esau bore against Jacob.  The grudge was well deserved, as Jacob had stolen Esau’s birthright.

Something miraculous occurs, though.

As Esau’s troops advance upon Jacob’s position, and Jacob is certain his brother will strike him down, Esau offers a surprising response of grace and reconciliation to Jacob.  The brothers are reunited, and peace is restored.

It’s a remarkable scene of love and forgiveness in the midst of a world that didn’t always function that way.

You, like Esau, have the power to dismantle the knot of pain and betrayal that led to the grudges you hold. Forgive.

You also have the power to apologize to those you know you’ve hurt.

As for the faceless people out there who may bear you ill for something you aren’t aware of, all you can do is follow God’s advice, and love your neighbors.

The Grace you help bring into the world can be much more powerful…

than any disgrace you may have caused.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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