Zanpakuto and the Cost of Anger

Ichigo Kurasaki's Zanpakuto, Zangetsu
Ichigo Kurasaki’s Zanpakuto, Zangetsu

They were once bonded to their masters. Happy to swerve, cut, and slice down their enemies. They were beautiful, crazy, strong, dedicated.

Until one day, some sneaky dude wearing 80s makeup tells them to disobey the Shinigami they serve.

I am talking about the Zanpakuto in the anime Bleach. The Zanpakuto is kind of difficult to explain. The Shinigami uses swords to fight but there are spirits in these swords, with personality. But someone has been controlling the Zanpakuto.

How was he able to achieve this?

By drawing on the Zanpakutos’ anger.

Many of them grew tired of serving and became weary of doing good.(Gal. 6:9)

With the holidays finally closing its curtains on us, many people are going back to work, on the grind making their wages. Many of them came from a very frustrating holiday season where money was spent on food and gifts or maybe, like some of us, we were off during those two weeks and don’t miss the craziness at all.

And others allowed darkness to cloud their judgment.

It is so easy to let the devil in because we are angry. Last Christmas I saw so many angry folk it was a nightmare to be in the spot as they were.

Don’t get me wrong, anger is not a bad emotion. It is an emotion given from God, but should we be addicted to it? Should it drive our every decision?

Nope.

Because with sheer anger, we can do anything: revenge, murder, cheat, steal, bicker, and become bitter.

And after all of that, you’ll get a modicum of satisfaction- right up until you land in jail.

Or dead.

Exactly how the enemy wants it.

My favorite emotion is joy. Because I see through rosy glasses and I have hope that makes my heart swell. I treat myself kinder therefore I treat others kinder, I see more of what God has for me.

Other emotions like pain, sadness, apathy(lack of emotion), and happiness are also alert systems for us to know what is wrong.

But they are not something to hold on to.

Every day there is a homeless man with a tree limb walking along the road, or an old woman begging for change from customers, and a young woman about my age, spitting on the ground cursing to herself.

And yes, I am mad. So mad.

Because in this great, bountiful country, why is this happening? We have churches along every ridge of street, every curve has a sign saying why we should go to church.

I look at the poor and the poor in spirit and I wonder…is this righteous anger I feel?

And even then, since I am not a monk and I am not God, I still err. I talk badly about the rich, I envy others…

Ever felt that way?

I think there is a way to channel all of this anger so that the devil will not entice us with spoiled fruit. Like what happened to the Zanpakuto. I don’t want the enemy to use my anger to fuel his agenda.

Even now, writing this, I have no keen solutions for you out there. I am just like you. Studying the Word, praying and talking with others in the Kingdom.

I may not ever find riches( I never wanted to be rich anyway, just well off) this side of the moon, but I do know that Christ is concerned with heaven and how we treat each other. That is what matters in the long run anyway and that, my friends, is true joy.

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Asaph’s Answer and Reliance on the Devil’s Gifts

Bleach Episode 177
Bleach| Death by Bakoto

Pledging Allegiance to the Enemy Reap Temporary Rewards.

If you watch episode 177 of Bleach closely, you’d realize as I did, that using anything that comes from hellish places is never good. Assassins are sent destroy the princess( and Ichigo), using a Bakoto. The Bakoto gives these assassins power beyond their imagination.

And it seems good for a while, but then as soon as their Bakoto, or sword “feels” their host being defeated- it devours the assassin in a grotesque fashion.

The Psalm of Asaph

It reminded me of the psalm of Asaph. His psalm talks about those who are arrogant and get what they want.

They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.  Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.(Psalm 73:8-9 NIV)

He laments even more about those who are powerful and godless,

This is what the wicked are like– always carefree, they increase in wealth.(v. 12)

I will get to the point in a minute, but here is what really struck a chord with me and gave me an odd sense of peace…

When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.  Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!(v. 16-19)

What do Bakotos, and anime have to do with you as a Christian?

It is not hard to figure out. The assassins(already a bad job title, huh?) relied on demonic powers to take out someone. From the plot of the anime, I gather they are powerful to begin with. However they wanted more power and seem carefree as conveyed in verse 12 of Asaph’s psalm.

Second, they arrived to be oppressive. They were sent to kill anyway, but their job description alone tells me they thrive off of a wicked lifestyle; I am convinced that those we see right now in the real world who are rich, powerful and just have it all together will surely slip and fall. And if they are not right with Christ their agony will be like those assassins faces, twisted in anguish and pain, devoured by their own devices.

Is it so wrong to be rich and powerful? Is it really of the devil?

Absolutely not.

The powerful part is debatable. Again, there are people in need and who want to be cozy and warm not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but everyday like the rest of us. If you are rich and powerful, then you are for a reason.

To help others.

Asaph saw deeper though. He was so busy worrying over what others had and how powerful they were that he could not see the truth until he faced God.

Having Jesus is enough. Relying on weapons of this world never solved a problem. Still hasn’t.

Engage your spiritual pressures, connected in christ

Ichigo's Spiritual Power
Power of Ichigo from newanimationworld

This week we have been watching Box Set 6-8 of Bleach- one of our current anime favorites. In animes like this, each character is connected by “spiritual pressure”. This pressure behaves like a string that binds them together(and is a powerful force to reckon with) and lets them know when someone is off the path or when the enemy is around.

*Note: The actual term for spiritual pressure is “reiatsu”. For more about this, please see Bleach Wikia’s Reiatsu

For example, in episode #158, Chad, a human has achieved great power by training with Kisuke Urahara. While fighting an Arrancar in another room in hueco mundo, Renji feels Chad’s great pressure and says, “Chad? It feels like Chad but….”(Paraphrasing).  Rukia and Ichigo were able to feel each other’s pressures as well as the rest of their crew as they fought in this dark world.

Why bring this up?

Bleach is a supernatural anime so it features Soul Reapers(a.k.a. Death gods), evil spirits, and the common good versus evil conflict. But what’s really cool is how Ichigo and his friends are so connected to one another that they can detect when one has departed, or when their spiritual power is diminishing. They can locate someone based off their spiritual pressures!

How much more the Body of Christ.

If your brother or sister in Christ is hurting- you WILL know about it. As humans, we are born with perception and clairvoyance-some on a higher level than others but you should be able to tell what’s going on with your friends. And we should actually care.

The boulder standing in our way to being in tune with one another’s pressures is one thing: Selfishness. I get it. We are all so terribly busy. We have much on our plates. Too many problems of our own. I completely understand.

I also understand that Jesus wept over John the Baptist. I also understand how he can feed those in need and know they need the Bread of LIfe. I know as well that if we are the Body of Christ, when our eye hurts or our arm hurts, its pain can be felt in our bodies. We need those parts.

We are each others’ limbs.

So you see. Christians/People of the Way are supposed to be in tune with one another.  Ichigo and his friends have such a tight bond that when one “string” is plucked, they all feel it.

This is exactly what the Accuser hates. He hates unity. He hates bonds made between people because where there is a bond, there is power to overcome any obstacles.

We are connected through God  because of His Son’s blood.

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Have you met a bount? What to look for during spiritual warfare

Kariya and Ugaki are Bounts from Bleach/Taken from Bleach Wikia

Spiritual warfare is real. This is why I enjoy supernatural anime like “Bleach” and it is the Bount Arc episodes that really exemplify what happens when we encounter those intent on draining our soul.

What happens in the Bount Arc?

In the Bount Arc, Kariya, a bount, drinks from a Bitto-an insect manufactured to drain humans of their blood and thus provide magnificent blood/soul for the bount to grow stronger. Bounts drain people of their souls and they can be alluring. Very alluring. In fact, the bount has recruited a Soul Reaper Ichinose to be his “guard”. Ichinose knows better; he comes from a background meant to kill deadly hollows, protect the land of the living- what is up with that?

We have bounts in this world, folks.

They are meant to drain you dry and there are those whom you love and trust that may be serving these bounts. To explain this type of warfare, I need you to understand what bounts are and the role of a few characters in Bleach.

  • Bounts are a group of humans who lives by consuming human souls.  At one time, they were called vampires.
  • Jin Kariya’s history may take time to explore but just know that he is a bount intent on destroying the Soul Society and he relishes in power and sucking human souls.
  • Then there is Ichinose, he is from the Soul Society but has joined the bounts. What would make someone do that? Ichinose is known for having such a strong sense of justice but because his former captain was a mess and( I guess most captains are a mess in the Soul Society)  he began following Kariya, becasue Kariya saved him from a hollow once.

Now that we know a little something, let’s see if you can spot a bount or a “wannabe” like Ichinose:

Have you ever been around someone that you instantly felt a negative vibe about?

Whenever you have a conversation with them, it completely drains you?(negative talk, gossip, self important talk, condescension?)

Have you met someone who seem to have good morals, good intentions but they were a Ichinose? Feel they owe a bount so they hang on this evil person’s every word and deed?(Folks who marry others with different beliefs, hang around friends with different motives?)

Met a Jin Kariya? A person who is smart but think they can own and control everyone?

This is what it feels like to be around a bount. In fact, the bible has a word on dealing with wicked people and it comes from Psalms 1 which warns against “walking in the counsel of the wicked, sitting in the seats of the ungodly and standing in the way of sinners”(NIV)- our meditations and joy should be in God alone.

I will confess something. I can be really antisocial. It can be a gift and a curse. It is a gift because I am very careful not to hang out with others who do not have good intentions unless I am there to encourage them and give them a Word of God and even that is led by the Holy Spirit. Secondly it can be a curse because when the Lord tells me to go out there and preach his Word or to talk to someone, I freeze up.

I do not hang with bounts as Ichinose does, but spending time with them has been draining on my soul. To counteract it I have to have grace, I have to love. To combat that hate we feel rising off of people we pray harder and pray daily for God’s strength and just thank Him for what he has done and will do on earth as it is in heaven.

Have you met a bount? Are you that bount? Share your thoughts here or share the post with your friends!

Praise the Lord! 🙂