Settling an Argument with Anger. Mark 12:3-4

Part of Daniel Amari's series, "Walk by Faith: insights from the Gospel of Mark"

Author: Daniel Amari/Tuesday, September 26, 2017/Categories: Christianity, The Bible, New Testament, Mark, Walk by Faith series Daniel Amari, Article

Settling an Argument with Anger

Mark 12:3-4

Daniel Amari

 

And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. 2 When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard 3And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.

 

It seemed that the arrangement these tenants had with the owner, in the fact that they are tenants accountable to give fruits in its time to the owner, is not acceptable to them.  Their point of view is that the fact that the real owner was gone for long time to another country permits them to change the initial agreement. They might have felt that the initial agreement was not fair to them. But if this is simply the case, they could have left and given this place to other tenants. Clearly, there are issues related to jealousy, greed, and pride.

 

Yet the owner sent to them a servant to get from them some of the fruit. Notice how the owner continued to operate under the agreement. The owner also asked for only some of the fruit. This suggests that the owner was very reasonable. Nevertheless, the sending of the servant represented to the tenants a clash between two different point of views. From the tenant’s perspective, the sending of a servant to get some of the fruit is a violation of the way they were operating the vineyard.

 

But how did they handle it?

 

A.      They beat him. They used violence to force their point of view. In the clash of different point of views, they used violence to settle the differences.

a.       It is very remarkable that their first response was not a reason for their disagreement. There were no kind calm words explaining why they needed to change the initial agreement.

b.      They did not have any good defensible argument to send back to the owner. So they resorted to violence.

c.       Comment on the use of violence: Physical violence is not necessarily the only kind of violence that is utilized from such people. There is anger, hostility, legal action, threats, anything to silence the other party.

d.      Be very careful from those people who use anger and violence to settle the argument. Avoid such people. But more importantly, we need to examine ourselves if we are such people when dealing with our spouses and families. Do we resort to anger to settle the argument? Is anger our first response? Anger is sometimes driven by pride. The need is to humble ourselves before the Lord and seek his grace to deal humbly with others.

B.      They sent him empty-handed. The message is clear. They own everything. The owner is not entitled to anything. This is the reason why they did not have a good defensible position. What reasonable debate can be offered in defense of clear theft?

 

 

4 Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully.

 

Several observations:

A.      The owner sent to them another servant.

a.       Why did the owner send to them another servant? The sending of a servant represent the owner operating under the agreement; and enforcement of the fact that the agreement is still valid.

b.      He did not resort to violence. This demonstrates his grace and professionalism.

c.       It is noteworthy that the owner did not let violence intimidate him or scare him.

d.      There are great lessons from this on how to deal with an angry person. Yes avoid as much as possible; however, do not let their anger intimidate you or change the agreement. You are not helping that person at all in the long term if you submit to their intimidation; for the message you are sending them is  that anger and hostility work. Clearly, anger and hostility did not work in this instance or in the long term. Moreover, do not react to violence in violence. Learn to be gracious yet firm.

B.      The escalation of the tenants:

a.       They struck him on the head: the intention was more than to beat him. But to cause extensive and permanent harm.

b.      They shamed him. They put him down and abused him verbally. It is interesting that verbal shaming is seen as an escalation over physical violence.

c.       We need to pay attention to the fact that shaming is a form of violent escalation. There is a myth that verbal shaming is below physical violence. But the truth it is an escalation. We have to watch out that no escalation comes from our mouth and watch out for such escalation that comes the mouth of others. It is an escalation and it should be treated as so with wisdom and discernment.

d.      Escalation of violence is the only resort of the unjust. The only other alternative is to admit they are wrong and honor the agreement. Furthermore, violence and shaming is a public declaration of bankruptcy of arguments. Kind, quiet and gracious demeanor suggest element of truth. Shaming, on the other hand, suggests escalation as the only resort of those who do not have the truth with them. Shaming includes attitudes of sarcasm, scorn, and demeaning. Let us be wise to see these acts for what they are: the only resort of those who reject truth.

 

 

Copyright 2017 by Daniel Amari. All rights reserved.

 

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”

 

 

 

 

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Daniel Amari
Daniel Amari

Daniel Amari

Researcher in Islam, Christian Apologist, TV Host, and Speaker.

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Full biography

Full biography

Researcher in Islam, Christian Apologist, TV Host, and Speaker with over 17 years of experience. Host and Co-host of Arabic scholarly apologetics TV program. President of the Religion Research Institute, an evangelical scholarly ministry dedicated to comparative religion, Islamic research, and Christian apologetics. Master of arts in New testament with focus on Biblical languages and Textual Criticism.

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