I have checked out Peter Rollins’ latest blog “I pray the children of my enemies be dashed against the rocks“. It underscores the necessity and importance of being true to ourselves, and feeling the emotions we have instead of suppressing them. I agree with Peter Rollins’ take on the intention of the writer who wrote Psalm 137 – it is very likely the writer was only venting his frustrations about his perceived enemies and wishing that their little children be dashed against the rocks, without actually intending or planning to do any harm to them. After all, many of the psalms in the bible are honest, heartfelt prayers to their god. As I have been learning, the old testament writers were only projecting their own image onto their concept of god most of the time.
Similarly, I was thinking that in Psalm 139, the writer was contemplating on how intimately the Creator knows him, who had formed him in his mother’s womb, and yet towards the end of the psalm, he wrote that he wished God would slay the wicked. It might appear incongruent at first, especially one would expect the writer to be full of love and gratitude when meditating on the love of God and how precious God’s thoughts were towards him. Then again, the psalmist was only being real to himself, and he was only expressing his anger and frustrations towards those who hurt him by writing his thoughts honestly, instead of suppressing his emotions. Writing, after all, is one of the best ways to release negative energy. Through writing and venting, the person would become free from the anger and hatred, and these emotions would no longer have any control or power over him.
Hence, I am in agreement with the gist of Peter Rollins’ post:
“The point here is that, when it comes to prayer, we must be free to express the full range of the moans that lie within us. While we might be inclined to think that these moans express directly what we think, more often than not they simply express a cluster of frustrations and fears that will do more damage if not given space; frustrations and fears that can be worked through only as they are expressed.”
Yes, only when we express our frustrations and fears through safe ways such as honest prayers, sharings, and writings, will we be able to work through these emotions and eventually find freedom from their control.