Everywhere we look, others are living out personal dramas that envelop them in cocoon of emotion. The drama in others’ lives seems so prevalent that, at times, it almost defines who they are and they seem to judge us according to how we interact with the events contained within that personal drama. No matter how hard we try to stay away from it, it always seems that we are pulled into an unending sequence of problems that do not belong to us or should not exist at all, and it seems to cause issues in our own lives. The question I would like to ask, then, is how should God’s people deal with drama on this earth?
The very first thing we must do is define drama. According to popular society, drama is making a big deal over something unnecessarily. According to fiction, drama is nothing more than a play or story. As far as scripture is concerned, I’m not sure ‘drama’ as it is popularly termed is the question we need to be dealing with specifically.
In scripture we see a real life drama played out revolving around a God who yearns for His creation to be returned to Him. Ever since man’s fall, there have been real people with real problems and almost always, mankind fails to deal with its own problems efficiently and mostly fails to deal with its problems all together. In today’s society, it seems as if people would rather embrace their problems than actually deal with them, which brings to light our first challenge. We must commit, as God’s people, to help fix the problems in this world, not simply ignore them.
“If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself. Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” – James 1:26-27 HCSB
You have heard it time and time again. Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with the only God. This being said, it is likely that James was speaking against the ritualistic religion of his time. If people were going to be religious, it needed to fix the world’s problems, not cause the world more. We can observe religion today in the same light. Instead of helping fix this world’s problems, many religious people only add to them. I do not believe that mankind must meet God through religion, which is why, when James speaks about religion he speaks in the context of good works. Religion, in other words, means nothing if it doesn’t help. We do not have to have ‘religion’ to know Christ, but any religion we claim should center around Christ if it is to be meaningful. A follower of Christ is called a Christian whether or not he is religious.
Pure and undefiled
Considering this, pure and undefiled religion means to interact with the world in the way that Christ interacted with the world and to take care of God’s creation. Every tradition, every ritual, every law and every teaching should help to solve this world’s problems. Religion should preach against what is wrong. Religion should take care of the widow and the orphan. Religion should always point people toward the one true God.
What of the Christian who is not ‘religious’? If any one person claims to be a follower of Christ and a servant of the Most High God, then he or she must rightfully act in the world as Christ acted and take care of God’s creation. This is the responsibility of all Christians, both religious and irreligious. Even without the tradition, ritual and religious law, the role of a Christian is always to act as Christ and be a steward of God’s creation; returning it to Him. Pure and undefiled ‘religion’ as stated by James can be compared to a pure and undefiled lifestyle. We take care of those in need, providing for them and helping them to solve personal problems all while working to keep ourselves unstained by the world.
On drama, then?
If we are to define drama as making a big deal out of something unnecessarily, then every single person on the face of the planet lives consumed in drama because not one person deals with their own real problems in the most efficient way. Now I am willing to admit that some live in a much greater degree of drama than others, but I believe that avoiding drama altogether is a bad move. Not only is it a bad move because everyone on earth chooses not to deal with problems in the wisest manner, but also because the resolve to avoid drama causes God’s people to ignore very real problems in people’s lives.
Most people do not readily buy into this thing we call drama. My hypothesis is that if we look deep enough, we will discover that the big deal that is made stems from a real problem. Maybe there really are two guys that Suzie likes and doesn’t know which one to choose. Maybe that girl really is bad news and maybe Jim really can’t see it. Despite how big of a deal these people make out of their difficulties, no matter what those difficulties are, we must realize that there are real problems everywhere. Instead of having the “I’m going to avoid all drama” mentality, we should instead resolve to help others to deal with their problems, to care for those in need, while not making a big deal out of our own problems. This may be the only way, scripturally, to deal with the problem of overemphasized drama in our culture.
A greater goal
By legitimately taking care in and helping others deal with their problems, we create an opportunity not only to share the Gospel of Christ, but also to take part in a greater level of discipleship. It is in the greater interest of God’s kingdom that we take interest in others’ personal problems. This being said, there is always human created drama. There are always problems. We should be willing to help others with their problems all while not prying into people’s personal lives.