I’ve always struggled a bit with my temper.
OK…scratch that…I have always struggled with getting angry ENTIRELY too quickly. Just ask my wife…my kids…people who have served along side me in ministry…people in traffic…
Let me just be real for a moment…more often than not, my fuse was (and sometimes still is) shorter than the line to the men’s restroom at a Backstreet Boys concert.
A number of years ago, I turned my anger toward a new subject…politics and social engagement. I became the Peter Griffin (e.g. You know what really grinds my gears?) of the Christian world. I told myself that I was fighting the good fight for the good of the Kingdom of God. I was convinced that all I was doing was telling the truth, and that people’s problem wasn’t with me, but with the truth.
I used this very blog to blast off “truth bombs” toward the unsuspecting and godless culture that surrounded me. I fired them off faster than Robin Williams ad-libbing on the set of…well…any movie he was a part of. I was kicking butt and taking names.
Or so I thought.
What I really was, was a self-righteous blow-hard who put on my self-proclaimed “Kingdom Justice Warrior” cape and masqueraded around as a guy who “had it all together”.
Clearly, this wasn’t and isn’t a good thing, and has been something I have had to work towards bettering myself in over the years. And, I’d like to think I’m getting better. But, it’s been a long hard road fraught with many casualties.
I have spent the last several months (and maybe close to a year) of doing some serious introspection. I have been trying to take a deep hard look at who I was, and how that aligned with what I see about Jesus and his engagement with the unbelieving world in His time on this earth.
And they didn’t align.
I was the angry Christian that the unbelieving world points their finger at and says, “See that guy? Why would I want to be like him…like the Church? They’re just a bunch of angry blow hards trying to tell me how wrong I am and point out how good they are. Hypocrites.”
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.1 Corinthians 13:1 ESV
Not only did I look in the mirror, that is Jesus, and not like what I saw…but I also looked in the mirror, that is 1 Corinthians 13, and I realized just how ugly I had become. How unlike “love” I had become.
Now, don’t get me wrong…I still firmly believe in the truth and what the Bible teaches. I still hold to what people would classify as conservative view points on various things.
But I am learning that there is a far better way to communicate with people that doesn’t come across as 1 Corinthians 13:1 calls “a clanging cymbal”.
Just this week I have witnessed several things that disturbed me from various folks proclaiming to be Christians that took me back to my old self…and, to be frank, it nauseated me…it frustrated me…and it pained me to watch.
Not just because it reminded me so much of my old self…but because this was the Church I was seeing…the Bride of Christ…behaving in a way that I just don’t think Jesus could be supportive of.
For example…I saw a gentleman claiming to be a believer, and pro-life, calling those who support abortion “lowlife trash”.
Is that even necessary?
What was the point of that anyway?
I reminded the gentleman that before Christ, he too was lowlife trash and that he shouldn’t forget where he came from lest he lose the ability to have compassion on others and speak truth in love.
When these folks get confronted, they want to throw out the whole, “Don’t forget, Jesus made whips and flipped tables too”…and completely ignore the fact that he did that to the religious elite of his day…not the lost and unbelieving world who didn’t know the truth and know any better.
Church…we don’t have to act this way. There is a better way.
1 Corinthians 13 tells us how love looks. And if we want to speak the truth to an unbelieving world, we have to learn how to do it in love. Truth is…a lot of it simply revolves around putting yourself in the other person’s shoes for a minute.
With all of that in mind, I want to leave you with a quote from one of the staff pastors at my church that he stated during his sermon this past Sunday that really resonated with me, and I think captures the whole posture we need to take with unbelievers…and it is this:
Our assignment isn’t to show people around us how good we are. Our assignment is to show people around us how good God is!Pastor Neal – Journey Church, Ladson SC
Category: Church, Faith, Hate, Life, Ministry, TruthTags: 1 Corinthians 13, A better way, Angry, Angry Christians, Backstreet boys, Christian, clanging cymbal, hypocrites, Kingdom Justice Warrior, Mirror, Peter Griffin, Politics, Robin Williams ad lib, Truth in Love, You know what really grinds my gears