Jesus's Words

The Cult of Paul

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Contrast #14: Paul's passive-aggression and Jesus' gentle kindness...

For those who are unclear on the matter, the term "passive aggressive" relates to statements or actions which seem calm, detached, or even well—intended on their surface, and yet which have an underlying manipulative motive and/or aggressive intent. Some examples of this dysfunctional trait are found in expressions of melodramatic pettiness, pity-ploys, insincere compliments, blame-shifting, behavior shaming, guilt tripping, embittered complaining, paranoia, "white lie" dishonesty, griping gossip, caustic criticism, and/or a rationalized lack of remorse or empathy. Passive aggressive individuals often feel that they are being treated unfairly, and almost always feel entitled to more respect or honor than they currently receive. Reading the biblical letters of Paul with these definitions in mind, it is quite easy to see that Paul regularly and flagrantly exhibits a classic passive aggressive personality.(In all fairness to Paul, most of his passive aggressive manipulations are found in his letters to the Thessalonians and the Corinthians, with far fewer examples thereof being found in his ministry's final two epistles, Romans and Colossians.) He regularly attempts to summon pity from his readers,(1 Thessalonians 2:2, 2 Corinthians 2:1-9, 11:16-33, Colossians 1:24.) he frequently disguises his true motives behind false denials,(1 Thessalonians 2:8, 2 Corinthians 712-4.) and he openly admits to his attempts to make my own people jealous, and thereby save some of them.Romans 11:14 He claims to not be shaming his followers while obviously shaming them,(1 Thessalonians 2:9-11, Galatians 1:6-9, 3:1-3, 4:8-11, 1 Corinthians 4:14, 2 Corinthians 11:7-11.) he sets himself up as the only acceptable arbiter of truth,(see 1 Thessalonians 4:8, Galatians 1:11-12, 1 Corinthians 14:37—38, Romans 15:15-19.) he makes "velvet threats" related to the potential future misdeeds of his readers,(2 Corinthians 12:19-21.) he lauds the past behaviors of one congregation in order to manipulate another into supplying him with similar gifts or benefits,(2 Corinthians 8:2-24, 9:5.) and he openly denigrates his opponents - and thereby passively threatens his readers with similar denigration should they be similarly disobedient.(1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, Galatians 2:11-14, Romans 1:20-22, 10:2-3, 16:17-20.)

Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is regularly seen being unconditionally kind to others while being blatantly direct with them at the same time. Indeed, it is no accident that he openly champions flagrantly honest speech, saying, Let your 'yes' mean Yes and your 'no' mean No,Matthew 5:37 and that he openly lauds and honors "children";(See Matthew 18:3—6, 19:13-14, where the Greek word paidia, Strong's #3813, actually means "toddlers" or "very young children".) in the case at hand those who are fully incapable of engaging in passive-aggressive manipulations of any kind. Where Paul frequently threatens and inspires fear in others as a manipulative tool, Jesus repeatedly encourages his followers to Be not afraid.Matthew 10:26—31, Matthew 14:27, 17:7, 28:5-10, Mark 5:36, 6:50, Luke 5:10, 8:50, 12:4-11, 32, John 6:20. See also John 14:27. Where Paul threatens God's wrath and punishment, Jesus speaks of God's unconditional Love.(See Matthew 5:44—48, Luke 6:36, 15:11—32, John 3:16-17, 15:9-17. See also 1 John 4:7-18 and Luke 12:32.) Where Paul's ministry is clearly designed to establish his theology and ultimately his church, Jesus' teachings are all about bringing others Joy and lessening their suffering,(Matthew 5:3-11, 11:28-30, Luke 10:20, 15:1-7, 17:20-21, John 16:20-22.) saying, Do not weep.,Luke 7:13 I have said these things to you so that my Joy might: be in you.,John 15:11 and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.John 17:13 Where Paul is often cold-hearted and lacking in empathy, Jesus often shows great compassion for others' confusion and suffering.(Matthew 9:36, 14:14, 15:32, 20:34, Mark 1:40-42, 6:34, 8:2-3, Luke 7:13, 19:41-42.) Where Paul tempts his adherents to worry about imminent danger or future discomfort, Jesus encourages his followers to have faith and focus only on the present moment,(Matthew 6:25-34, Mark 4:39-40, Luke 12:22-26.) even going so far as to say, I have said these things to you so that in me you might find peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; for my way has conquered the world.John 16:33

And finally, where Paul is frequently stern and even harsh with his readers, Jesus is almost always(When exposing the hypocrisies of the Pharisees.) seen being gentle and kind. Indeed, aside from the many times we see Jesus feeding the hungry or healing the ill or injured, we see him being gentle and kind without condition to all those who come to him. He was kind to lepers(Matthew 8:2-4, Mark 1:40-42, Luke 5:12-13, 17:12-19) even though the Judaic Law of the day forbid the same.(Leviticus 13:44-45, Numbers 5:1-4.) He was kind to a Roman centurion even though Roman legions were militarily occupying his homeland at the time.(Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-9.) He was kind to an adulteress,(John 8:1-11.) and he was kind to tax collectors and prostitute.(Matthew 9:10-13, Mark 2:15-17, Luke 5:29-31, 19:1-9.) He was kind to all the ill and injured people who came to him in Simon's home,(Mark 1:29-34, Luke 4:38-40.) and he was kind to an "unclean woman" who touched him(and thereby made him "unclean" as well - see Leviticus 15:25-27) without his permission.(Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48.) He was kind to all the innocent animals who were being brutally butchered in the Temple,(Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15, Luke 19:45, John 2:14-16. See also Matthew 9:13.) and he was kind to the woman from Canaan.(Matthew 15:22-28. This even though such friendliness was forbidden at the time by Jewish Law - see Deuteronomy 20:17.) He was kind to very young children(Matthew 19:13-15, Mark 10: 13-16, Luke 18:15-17.) and he was kind to "royal officials".(John 4:46-53.) Despite the centuries-old enmity that still existed between Jews and Samaritans at the time,(See 2 Kings 17:29-41, Matthew 10:5, and John 4:9.) Jesus was openly kind to a Samaritan woman,(John 4:5—26.) openly kind to Samaritans in general,(John 4:39-40.) and even vehemently kind to a village of Samaritans who had rudely rejected him and his disciples.(Luke 9:52-56.) He was kind to the "wasteful woman" who anointed him with expensive oil,(Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:37-50. See also John 12:2-8, which pretty clearly references another anointing entirely.) and he was also kind to Jairus, the leader of a local synagogue.(Mark 5:21-24, Luke 8:41-55. See also Nicodemus in John 3:1-21.) He was repeatedly kind to his disciples(Who were for, the most part, completely clueless for the entirety of his ministry, and who often frustrated him immensely throughout the same - see John 13:3-8, John 20:20-23.) and he was even kind to Judas during his betrayal.(Matthew 26:20-25, 49-50.) Most telling of all, Jesus was kind during his darkest hour - even towards his crucifiers during his crucifixion, where he uttered, Father, forgive them - they know not what they do.Luke 23:34

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