My friends Dayna and Joe Martin were one of the families on a recent episode of ABC’s Wife Swap. It was a fantastic show with one of the highest ratings in recent years. In typical Wife Swap fashion, the families were polar opposites. The Martins are freedom-loving, joy-filled unschoolers. The Avery-Lamb’s are strict disciplinarians with a heavy emphasis on control, regiment, and education. As expected, there were some heated interchanges, especially between Joe and his “new wife,” Cindy. But why did Joe get so angry?
You see, in the closing scene, after a very difficult two-weeks, Cindy brought an air horn into his home. The air horn was intended to wake his kids up to force them to go to school. For Joe, that was the last straw. Put another way, how dare you bring that “device” into my temple and try to degrade my children. How dare you use cruel scare-tactics on my kids. How dare you lay the hand of might-is-right on my flesh and blood. How dare you disrespect me and everything I stand for with your thoroughly indoctrinated beliefs from this corrupt world that dictate your every thought. You fail to see the larger and more beautiful things in life, Cindy. No. You will not demoralize me or my family.
Jesus responded similarly. In the story where Jesus Cleanses The Temple, he’s saying, “How dare you degrade my house. How dare you bring your unholy systems of control into my temple. How dare you try to restrict and block the love of the Father from His children with your corrupt religious systems and beliefs. How dare you show such disrespect. No! I will not let that happen! You will not be allowed to do this! Get out! Get the “f” out of my house!”
We’re often quick to judge, saying things like, “Perhaps Joe could have handled himself better.” We often say such things when we see outrage and anger. However, there are times and moments when anger is justified. In fact, to not show moral outrage, such as in the case of a threat to one’s children, would be a moral outrage.
Jesus flipped out because he saw a corrupt system threatening his children. So did Joe.
Joe loves his kids with a tenderness rarely displayed in men. To do this, he’s had to battle and overcome the world in which he was raised – one of might-is-right, domination, and control. He’s had to learn self-restraint, patience, and a self-sacrificial love that says family first versus success, fame, fortune, or my personal comforts. He trudges the road less traveled – the road of respect, grace, humility, and love.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson
Short video clip below – I encourage you to watch the whole episode.
Wife Swap – Martins & Avery-Lamb