What is one thing that all “reality TV” shows have in common (besides being unrelated to reality for the most part)? Drama, and lots of it! Making a “mountain out of a molehill” seems to be mandatory for all participants. But maybe that aspect isn’t too far from real life; between work, school, our friends, and our family, we may have the makings for a lot of drama in our lives, too. Some people seem to thrive on drama and make drama where there wasn’t any before. What is it that defines this type of personal drama? While drama has historically referred simply to performing or acting out stories before groups (i.e. theater), we usually have a little more in mind when we think of someone as a “drama queen”, for instance.
Drama is all about every little event being “big”, critical, life or death, whether in reality or the TV shows that lay claim to that title. Drama magnifies our little annoyances while simultaneously minimizing the sometimes big problems others are enduring. Drama focuses on the short-term rather than long-term because what seemed so important at the time often fades in significance with the perspective of time. But treating a small insult as the trivial thing it really is hardly keeps viewers “tuned in” to shows on the TV screen (or on the screen of our personal life). Yet Christ tells His followers to think long-term, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness, to expect trials and not dwell on them, and even to pray for those who persecute them. The Apostle Paul tells us to bless those who persecute us and not to repay evil with evil, but rather to overcome evil with good. Peter tells us it is better, if God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil and not to be surprised at suffering as Christians. And the Apostle James tells us to “consider it all joy when you encounter various trials.”  What? Was he crazy? Putting up with trials may be admirable, but he didn’t seriously expect us to be joyful when things go wrong or people hurt us, did he? Actually, he did, because our joy comes from God, not our circumstances. And God can use our actions in those bad circumstances to cause a chain reaction beyond our best hopes.
Much of what I do as a professional engineer is built on applying Newton’s third law – that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. But with people, it doesn’t seem to be such a linear, predictable relationship. Our actions, unfortunately, often cause disproportionate reactions that can spiral in a dramatic, but vicious, cycle. But what if we broke that cycle before it even started, and our responses played out the life-changing (good) drama that only Jesus Christ can work in us and in others through us? Imagine, for example, a reality TV show where the stars didn’t take every little thing and blow it out of proportion, but instead forgave the one who had insulted them. Imagine the “constructive drama” that would unfold by living out the forgiveness and grace of God in our daily interactions with people. Could that vicious cycle become a cycle of grace and love, of “provoking one another to love and good works” with results exponentially good rather than bad? It could, but not in our own strength and wisdom. Been there, tried that, failed miserably. Maybe you have, too. That’s because only the Holy Spirit in us can accomplish that superhuman love for others that is really the distinguishing mark of a true Christian: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” How does this Christian love react to drama? Paul provides a famous description of this kind of drama-quieting love in his letter to the Corinthians. Though often used at weddings, this love is to color all our relationships:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Selfish drama can’t survive that kind of selfless love. Until next week, God bless! 🙂
 Matthew 6:33, John 15:20, Matthew 5:44, NASB.
 Romans 12:14, 17, 21, NASB.
 1 Peter 3:17, 4:12-19, NASB.
 James 1:2-4, 12, NASB. See verses 3 & 4 for why we should be joyful in trials.
 Hebrews 10:24, KJV.
 John 13:35, NASB. Also see “The Mark of the Christian”, a powerful little book by Francis Schaeffer from 1970.
 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV.