“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” — Mark Twain
My Problem With Paul
I’m starting to avoid reading the book of Philippians. Well, let me back up.
Have you ever noticed that when people read the Bible, they tend to read it from the perspective of their current situation or circumstances? For instance, if you are sick, then you start to notice all the Scriptures relating to healing. If you are poor, you see the abundance Scriptures, and if you are in prison, you focus on the passages that relate to feeling confined. I’ve felt like a prisoner myself lately, so I’m starting to avoid the book of Philippians. Yes, the whole book.
Please understand – it is not that I dislike Jesus. Jesus is still my Lord and Savior (much to the surprise of a few people who know me, I’m sure). The problem I’m having is with Paul and his whole joyful attitude theme. It is starting to get on my nerves, because sometimes I just don’t WANT to be joyful. I feel it is my RIGHT to complain about my circumstances, and I want a group of sympathetic ears to gather around me, pat me on the back and tell me it’ll all be “okay.” Instead, I read the book of Philippians and in place of a pat on the back, I get a kick in the pants.
The book of Philippians bothers me for a number of reasons. First, Paul is writing the Philippians from a Roman prison, just as he previously wrote to the Ephesians, Colossians and his good friend Philemon. I’d probably be writing my lawyer.