In the buildup to Palm Sunday i have been reading the four different accounts of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as chronicled in the Gospels.
Although each account tells generally the same story, the way in which each does it is unique. Jesus arrives on a donkey. The people sing His praises. The Pharisees are livid. These are core details in each story.
But other than that, the accounts seem to highlight differing aspects of the event — other than this: Jesus does not address the crowd. There is no stump speech. He does not hold a rally.
Jesus simply rides in and then, once the parade is over, moves on to other things.
There is a brief exchange that He has with the Pharisees, told in Luke’s version of the story, where He responds to their direct criticism. But even that is not a speech; more like a bit of poetry, actually. He also weeps over Jerusalem and utters a prophecy. Still not a public address.
There is something about the way in which Jesus enters Jerusalem that is surprisingly non-hyped on His part. Sure the crowds are going crazy for Him, but He doesn’t seem caught up in the moment. He doesn’t seem to feel a need to capitalize on the moment either.
Jesus is remarkably calm in this story.
O to have some of that in my life.
It seems to me that whatever other issues are at play in a struggle with compulsive sexual behavior — and there are many — one key element of the battle is the frantic and unsustainable pace of life.
The pace of daily living, along with its multitude of pressures and expectations, is a tyrant driving me (and you) to destruction. i know, “destruction” seems like a harsh or inappropriate word.
But consider the way in which being harried affects us. In a race against time — at least that what life often feels like — we make various decisions based on pressure, the expectations of others, and in reaction to the constant feeling that we are always behind.
We aren’t where we should be in our careers. Our kids aren’t achieving as highly as other kids in school or sports or community activities. Our diet suffers. We tell ourselves we’re going to exercise — but then, well, maybe tomorrow.
We says “yes” to more commitments than we should and then we either bail at the last moment because we cannot take it — feeling shame and guilt — or we reluctantly follow through and become resentful at the fact that yet again we’ve gotten ourselves into something simply because we didn’t want to deal with the disapproval that would come our way from those whom we would have disappointed if we had said “no” in the first place.
In the midst of all this, we start resenting our lives and we make more bad decisions based on that resentment. The cycle perpetuates and deepens.
Destruction. It’s a fitting word after all.
In a life like this, we look for the escape. Porn indulgence certainly fits into the escape category. But it’s more than that.
Porn indulgence is an attempt to carve out a space where we get a break from the unsustainability of our lives, but it is also a way to inflict our anger on the “system” that promotes and thrives on that very unsustainability.
Porn use is often driven by anger and resentment, whether it’s at your wife, your boss, or as a cry of “it’s not fair,” or as a cry of “i deserve this.”
The hatred we feel at being subjected to a life, even a life largely of our own choosing, that is a slave to the frenzied pace of the 21st Century comes out in extreme selfishness at others’ expense.
Porn is not the only version of such selfishness, but it is a good example of extreme selfishness at others’ expense.
The more i feel the pressure of an unsustainable life, the more prone i am to act out.
There is something about the way of the kingdom that is demonstrated by Jesus in His entry on Palm Sunday. It speaks of a better way. He is fully present and engaged with what’s going on, but He is not swept up in it. He doesn’t succumb to the pressure of the moment.
O to have some of that in my life.
There is something about the way Jesus lived His life that models for us what sustainability looks like (Luke 4:42-44). He had good boundaries with people. He pulled away for alone time to nurture His soul. He had a strong sense of who He was. He cared about people, but didn’t get snagged in their drama. He didn’t strive after things as though He were somehow lacking without them.
i think much of my own susceptibility to my compulsions would be greatly reduced if i were to live a more sustainable life.
i don’t think i am the only one.