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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Role reversal

"Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people?" Ex 32:11

Moses had a fascinating relationship with God. Today it almost seems like role reversal. Because Moses has passed through his anger at his own people, he becomes the peacemaker. God is enraged and ready to strike a death blow against the Jewish people because of their depravity, but Moses does what any of us do with good friends when they are about to act in a rash way and hurt themselves and others. He lets God express his anger, but then reminds God not to forget how good he is and how many promises he has made.

Moses says: "Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying, 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'" Helping God to remember his goodness and promises softens God's disappointment and we read, "So the Lord changed his mind about the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people." (Ex 32:14)

Moses' relationship with God is the key to his success. Because he has come to know God, and respects God's rage, he is able to intercede for his people.  The same is true for all of us. Trying to negotiate and make sense with others, especially if they have power, will only end in failure if we do not work at knowing and respecting them. Authentic relationships have the power to heal.

Today, listen with respect to those with whom you disagree.

Has anyone ever listened to you with acceptance and compassion when you were hurt and angry?

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