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Have you been triggered lately?

Credit: Richard Cassan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Richard Cassan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Have you been triggered lately? The urban dictionary defines this as “Getting filled with hate after seeing, hearing or experiencing something you can’t stand.” In my experience, a triggered person is not responsible for their anger. Someone else’s fault opened the door to their rage and now anything could happen.

Recently, a comedian Kathy Griffin posed with a faked severed head of President Donald Trump, Bill Maher used the “n” word in an interview, and Stephen Colbert has been criticized for something crude. Kathy Griffin, at least has received serious death threats for her offense.

So how did popular culture descend to crude violence and death threats? People were triggered. They are annoyed, usually by Donald Trump, so there are no limits on their behaviour, and now the other side is triggered and issuing death threats back at them. If this seems crazy to you, good. This is collective insanity, and it seems to be a thing these days.

But Christians don’t do that trigger thing, right?

Many years ago I was a bus driver in Europe. I drove summer missionaries on the autobahns in an old bus and I still have a clear memory of my supervisor telling me “I could never tell a stranger that Jesus loves them because maybe he doesn’t.” At the time, I had to keep my hands on the steering wheel and concentrate on the road but I was surprised. This is the answer I should have given:

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) plus “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died. And He died for all” (2 Corinthians 5: 14 and 15)

It’s easy math, but the bus ride is over and I don’t know where that guy went. You have a spiritual leader who wants to correct what is wrong and give you the best future, whatever your conscience tells you. We are loved and not resented; the plans for everyone are good.

Since that bus ride I have learned to appreciate my friend’s honesty. Jesus-doesn’t-love-you-anymore Christians are too common and their influence is destructive, but they don’t like to stand out. The attitude is, “if I can find fault with you, I can abuse you.”

In my extended family I have several cousins who dropped out. Each one did something offensive, which gave the rest of us something to talk about, and the circle grew smaller as the offenders found new friends. A few years ago I did a count, and the castaways now outnumber the righteous ones, also known as the ones who haven’t been caught yet. I’m trying to be funny, but this is very sad for me.

Two thousand years ago, the enemies of Jesus were triggered, so they had him crucified and laughed at him while he died.

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. (Mathew 27:39 to 44)

That is an early trigger story. They could abuse Jesus in any way because the door to their rage was opened. Sadly, we all have the same human nature and dressing Christian behaviour in theology can’t hide that truth.

Too many have been lost from our extended families, circles of friends, and churches. God’s answer is for the offender to repent, and for others to forgive and restore, which is an alien concept in this world.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4: 31 and 32)

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