Take These Thoughts Captive!
As I prepared for this week’s post, I pondered 2 Corinthians 10:5 – “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” My thoughts have been like popcorn. Jumping from issue to issue, worry to concern, concern to fear, and from pain to praise with regard to everything happening in the world today.
I do much of this thinking while at the gym, where this week I was interrupted by a fellow patron who took time to express to me their dissatisfaction with my gym attire. You see … I was not wearing a face mask or any face covering and the night before Gov. DeWine had announced a mask mandate and a threat of future restrictions.
I was initially confused, then the patron elevated their voice in protest, and I was offended! Oddly, I had placed a mask in my pocket in the event management had requested my compliance. However, who was this patron to suggest they had the right to involve themselves in my affairs? My thoughts raced, should I just put on the mask? No! I will not capitulate to their rude and unauthorized demand!
I finished my workout and as the patron passed me on their way out of the facility, they again made their position clear by stating “you better have a mask on tomorrow!” This was my limit. They had taken a random insult and elevated it to blatant and outright disrespect. I was fuming! It was one thing to make you point in a rude and obnoxious manner, it is a different issue to put salt in the wound.
I could not get the experience out of my head. I began to contemplate all the things I was going to say the following day. I will put them in their place and refuse to comply with this patron’s mask mandate! I even took time to research possible exceptions in order to use policy or authority to make my point.
Then I sat down to write my post.
As I spent an inordinate amount of time collecting my thoughts, still focusing on my gym experience, the words of 2 Corinthians began to push through the noise, “take these thoughts captive!” I felt compelled to take my thoughts and my plan to address the patron to Christ.
I began to think about my witness and my walk as a Christian. If I proceeded to take out my frustration on this patron, will this put my witness in jeopardy. Is my desire to stage a mini protest coming from a place of love?
I resolved I was in my pride and my thoughts were taking me captive and I was not taking my thoughts captive. What was at stake? Who was I going to honor with my life? Yes, even at the gym.
Was I offended? Yes. Did I have a right to be offended at the patron’s approach? Yes. Similarly, did the patron have a right to be offended by my flagrant disregard to the mask mandate? Yes. But, how should I respond? I was reminded, I have a right to redress but, is it helpful and moreover does it edify the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 10:23). Was my desire to respond with anger or to give the patron a piece of my mind out of selfish ambition or vein conceit? Am I considering the patron as better than myself? (Philippians 2:3). I was convicted!
The next day, I would wear a mask but, only in a symbolic manner, clearly still struggling with humility, and I would do everything to avoid interaction with the Patron. I struggled to walk in a Godly way. I struggled to humble myself and put others first.
This post is less of application and more of a prayer request. Brothers in Christ pray for me as I grow in this area. I have been vocal about stating a mask is a courtesy and can be quoted as saying “if wearing a mask yields a less than 1% possibility of preventing the spread, it’s worth it to prevent the spread.” However, my pride rendered my witness hollow and position hypocritical at best.
What has your thought life exposed about you? What can we pray with you about?
– Jason L. Carter