We often say we “don’t want any drama”. We use this cultural jargon to express our desire to avoid conflict and escape negative consequences of speech or action. Yet, deep down there is an appeal to the dramatic.
We watch it on TV, engage in it either passively (viewing) or actively (participating) on social media, and partake in it through our relationships. Drama can be overtly confrontational or covertly passive aggressive.
And drama breeds chaos. It encourages division and causes more problems than good. It glorifies sin and belittles peace. So if drama seems so negative and something we say we want to avoid, why are we often drawn to it like a moth to a flame? What makes drama so appealing?
Here Are 3 Reasons Why We Secretly Love Drama:
1) Drama Elevates Self
Perhaps the greatest attraction to drama is the belief that we are not as bad as others. Either in passively judging another’s actions/speech or actively confronting someone on their own behavior, we think they are worse off than we are. Their sin is out in the open and we get to sit self-righteously on our throne of pride as we sentence condemnation. Drama fools us by shifting the focus to another. Rather than taking a deep introspective look into our own heart and dealing with our own sin, we like to point out the shortcomings of others. Drama also elevates our pride when it spurs us on to always be right. We don’t think someone’s political view is right so we stir the pot. That woman certainly doesn’t have the first clue about raising a child so we must tell her. Or we don’t like how a coworker handled a situation and we begin telling others the right way it should have been handled. In all these ways, we are using drama to elevate ourselves.
2) Drama Is Distracting
When that person’s problems are on display for everyone to see or a verbal jousting match begins on social media, we suddenly become disinterested in the goings on of our own business. We get to zone out of our own little world and focus in on something that seems more interesting– because after all, sin is appealing. Drama puts sin on display and like a bad car accident we have a hard time looking away. It’s ugly and gruesome but it brings a temporary break to either our boredom, routine, or day to day events. We’re willing to give ourselves to chaos rather than order because at the time it brings excitement and a dishelved form of entertainment. However, in the end, drama distracts from purposefulness and leaves us with idle hands.
3) Drama Disguises Itself As Being Helpful
I find this to be especially true amongst family and close friends. Two family members are engaged in some conflict and rather than resist entering into the drama, we dive in head first under the mask of being helpful. Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to offer our help, but often times a) it is not needed or asked b) we go about being “helpful” the wrong way or c) we have an agenda. We let our emotions dictate how we help and rather than diffuse the situation, we fan the flames. Or we have a particular bias and we’re willing to cause more drama by intervening and giving everyone our opinion on the matter. More division and more chaos.
What’s The Antidote To Drama?
If drama is so appealing and a greater temptation than we might realize, how do we fight against it? What is the cure for the highly infectious disease of drama?
I think 1 Thessalonians 4:11 gives us the wisdom to flee from drama.
“and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,” 1 Thessalonians 4:11
The opposite of drama is peace. Peace brings order, builds up relationships, and gives hope. When we live quiet lives as instructed by Paul, we are actively pursuing a life of peace. We resist the urge to purposefully involve ourselves in conflict and leave behind the drama that so easily entangles us.
But the pursuit of peace requires humility. By humbling ourselves, we are able to seek peace because we don’t see another’s sin as greater than our own. When we have a correct view of our sin and need of Jesus, the desire for drama dissipates. We don’t need to elevate ourselves when we rightly believe that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We can avoid entering into conflict because we have a greater desire to honor Christ than our own egos.
And unlike drama, peace does not leave us idle or distract us from being Kingdom workers. We can resist the temptation to become distracted by drama because we see value and purpose in being a peacemaker. We think of others before ourselves and faithfully work unto the Lord, using the callings and giftings He has given us. And Kingdom work is anything but boring! How could we have time to be distracted when we have not only been offered the keys to the Kingdom, but also given the privilege to lead others into it?
Seeking to be a peacemaker also develops right motives and methods of genuinely helping our fellow man. We humbly work with our hands in order to serve our neighbor through acts of love. And in doing so we show the world a better way to live. We show them Jesus and His way of life. Our own pursuit of peace offers hope to this drama filled world. Hope that can only be possible because of Christ. He came to bring us the ultimate peace by restoring a right relationship with God. It was through His humble act of carrying out the Father’s mission that we have hope for any peace at all. And so to be a peacemaker is to be like Jesus.
If we truly want to avoid drama then we must seek to be peacemakers. May we ask the Lord to create in us a heart that desires to bring peace through humility, purposefulness, and genuine goodwill towards others.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” -Matthew 5:9