Anger, Faith and Art

Posted: July 6, 2021 in Uncategorized

Right now my poison pen is clawing at my pocket, begging to be released. I just posted about wanting to put it away permanently and share the love of Christ instead. I should have known this would be tested. I have been experiencing a lot of frustration lately, and to be clear, it’s not so much from the “world.” I learned a long time ago that I should not be surprised when people without Jesus act like people without Jesus. If anything, that should steel my resolve to evangelize. No the issue is when people with Jesus act like people without Jesus. To be clear, my home congregation is great. They regularly restore my faith in humanity, as do many of the ministry people I work with in my travels. There are a lot of people out there doing great good in the name of Christ, but then there are the others. People who want to act like we’re being hateful if we somehow want to follow the teachings of Scripture. I’m not talking about us being harsh and judgmental, we are still called to love friends, neighbors and even enemies. Ironically, I have found tolerance lacking from the people that demand everyone be tolerant and the discussions are so tiring and flat out demoralizing. I want to blast them, and I have the idea that I could be pretty good at it. The greatest stress for me in this ministry life is in the realization that I have to rein that in. Bottom line brothers and sisters, I’m angry and hurting and I want to unleash my wrath with my pens and my art. Righteous indignation is a powerful thing, but I have to pump the brakes and ask the question, will my expression of righteous indignation be righteous?

How do I overcome this? I need to change my focus. I need to focus on Christ and on my calling. I am fully aware that to live out that calling there will be resistance, and while I am surprised at how much of that resistance seems to come from within the church, making those frustrations my focus is a huge mistake. If I believe that someone has wandered from the truth, I need to be in prayer for them and I need to continue to love them, even if it’s a very one sided relationship. I need to remember the people who are trying to do good and to follow the Lord, and I need to spend my efforts and talents on encouraging my true brothers and sisters and looking to “harvest” the people who are truly “ripe.” I need to remember to speak the truth in love, and if I take lumps for that, I need to remember my Lord and His sacrifice. I need to trust those I see as going astray to the Lord, and keep speaking truth in my words, my life and my art.

There is a place in this world for righteous indignation, but how we handle that anger is important. Some of us may be called to turn over the tables in the temple, but for most of us, it’s a simpler admonition. Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry… Translation, if I allow my anger, even if it’s righteous, to push me into doing or creating something less than righteous, I am only adding to the noise. It’s a new day, time to let the anger go and get back to doing the righteous work of serving the Lord. There’s too much to be done to walk around angry and hurt. God is faithful and so must we be. Maybe we need to focus on Peter’s admonition to “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” Whether or not they are pagans is not my call. I need to serve the Lord and live out my call. So do you. So lock down your poison pen and speak the truth in love.

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