As I decided to trek out on this spiritual journey through my blog, I was left in limbo as to where and how I would start. I think about God and His Word a lot. It’s the topic of conversation on most days between my husband and me, as well as my closest friends and me. But when it’s coming down to sharing this out here, I’m not sure where to start. There is so much to say as to where I have been already, how do I jump out here without first showing you the pieces that came first? I wanted to tell you our story and how we arrived at where we are at spiritually, but that seems too long. I wanted to make a statement of faith, but then I felt like I would need to tell you our story…so again…too long.
So as I sat under conviction during this morning’s message, I thought what a fine place to start. The sermon was about self-control, sinful anger, and righteous anger. Many people are quick to say we should not judge. There is even scripture to support it. However, there is also scripture to support righteous judgment. Now have you, this form of judgment is rarely used, but it’s still true to the Word.
For example, we are warned time and time again in the epistles to beware of false prophets. Without judgment how would we know what is false? We are warned to discern spirits and to not be deceived. Again, we must make judgment. Anything that is contrary to the Word of God is up for judgment. (John 7:24, I Corinthians 5 and 6.)
I was just speaking to my husband this week about a “thorn in my flesh,” if you will. Because of our beliefs we have been cast out and isolated from many of our friends and family members. They’re nice enough but there is an awkwardness that is frequently sensed. I am not much for small talk. Usually if I want to talk, it is about much deeper issues than the pair of jeans I bought last week or the cars we drive or the homes we live in. But when you take the walk out into the “Christian world”, people don’t really want to talk about God or scripture. I find most people to be complacent with the god they know and don’t really care to search scripture for the One True God. If God is someone contrary to the idol in their mind, they don’t want to know what scripture says. So, we arrive at my thorn.
When the pastor mentioned this morning about righteous anger, I thought of the scripture “be angry and sin not.” I am angry most days because of the superficial religion of Christianity and that people can so effortlessly call them selves Christians yet not know one thing about the God they say they serve. I am angry because we are outcast yet not one person that casts us out can tell you what we believe. And if they have an idea, they cannot use scripture to explain to us why we are so wrong. I get bitter about other persons’ self-righteousness and how they neglect to see their own sin. Sin is so common they cannot see it as sin. A pastor I listen to on occasion made a statement and this is not verbatim but was something like this, “we look like the world, we act like the world, and we sound like the world but do not know it because we do not know the Word of God.” This resonated with me so much, not only for myself, but also for those around me. This is what I see as righteous judgment. I’m angry because these people who call themselves Christian are sinning against God and cannot see their sin. They are serving a false god and call themselves Christian. The superficial religion makes me angry.
And then I start to think, am I angry because they are sinning against God or am I angry that they are casting us out? If this is the case, my motivation is wrong. My righteous anger is no longer righteous but sinful. When I really meditate on this question, I must say it is a little bit of both. I so desperately want them to see God the way I see God. I want them to see their sin the way I see my sin. I want them to see our need for Christ and our depravity as humans. Then and only then do we see His glorious sacrifice. Then and only then do we truly believe in God. This is true belief; when we see ourselves as rotten, filthy rags and see that we have no righteousness in us and the only hope we have is in the work He did on the cross. I want them to see they are not good people just like I am not a good person. (Romans 3:10-11…well, the whole book of Romans.)
And at the same time all of that emotion is going on, I am bitter and I am mad. Why won’t they just listen to us? Why won’t they just talk to us? Why won’t they just discuss this with us? Notice all those “us”es? Where is God in that? We’re no longer pointing at God for glory, we’re pointing at us. We contradict what we believe by saying why won’t they listen. We say we believe the Spirit does this work; yet, we try to force them to see. And we can’t. Only God can make them see. (John 6:44-66)
I do praise God for my friends with different doctrinal beliefs that can discuss these things with me. I see in them the same drive to know God. I see in them the same conviction over sin and the true sense they know why they need Christ. The only difference between us is I say Christ 100%, and they say Christ 99.9%, us .1%, right? (Saying this with a grin because I know who is going to get that.)
I pray to God for understanding and for righteous anger. I pray that my sinful anger can be controlled and that I seek God’s glory in all things.