Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus,
So, what now? After covid and lockdowns and upheaval and riots and name calling and lies and division, the election has become the last straw for a lot of people. It is a slap in the face to say, “Have we got your attention yet?!” Regardless of your political position, this thing is a mess. All of this has led to anger. Anger at the helplessness, the unfairness, the lack of control over a world gone so very wrong. So, what do you do with the anger?
You might tell yourself that a good Christian shouldn’t get angry, especially not about things going on in the world. But that just adds guilt to the anger. The reality is that you are angry. Things like injustice, lies, manipulation, violence, and oppression ought to make you angry. They are the things that make God angry, too. These things are real, and they are in your world, and they affect you and people you love. Of course you are angry. The world isn’t supposed to be like this. If you didn’t get angry about such things you must either have your head in the sand or there is something wrong with your soul. No, the question isn’t whether or not you should be angry, but what do you do now with your anger?
You could turn your anger inward. That is depression. Many have done that. My neighbor’s wife can’t get out of bed because of the depression she faces over the things going on in this world. You can vent your anger at those who are “safe,” those closest to you, your spouse, your children, your household. But anger doesn’t belong there. If someone you love seems to be picking a senseless fight its likely they are just trying to find a place for their anger. Anger doesn’t belong in any of these places. Putting it there just makes things worse.
So, yes, its understandable to be angry. Own it. Recognize what it is that you are really angry about. Then, deal with it and move on. It wont help you or the things you care about to be depressed, angry, or bitter for a prolonged period of time. There will come a point where you must realize that happiness is a choice. And then you can work to make your world a better place.
If you don’t work to make this world a better place, then who will? Non-believers? I don’t think so. Those who have cooked up the vile soup we have been bathed-in? Not a chance. Look at history. It took times of revival to get Jesus’ church moving to change the world. We need Jesus. We need revival.
But, what can we do? The forces of evil seem to hold all the cards. For starters, we can decide that we will be a “called-out” people. Throughout the Bible, God makes clear that his people are not to be like other people. We have different values. Truth matters to us. Jesus and His love are our priority. That must never change. Grace matters. Show grace to those around you who are wrestling with their own anger. Love matters. Faith matters. Jesus matters. Forgiveness matters. But never confuse tolerance of wrongdoing for forgiveness. Forgiveness says that something is terribly wrong but it will not master you. In forgiveness, you release it so you might still do something about it.
Stand for biblically shaped priorities and values, saying, as with Luther, “Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God!”
Discover ways of dealing with the anger in a healthy manner. Take a walk in the woods. Get out in nature and remind yourself that there is a Creator and that all these things really are temporary. After all, one of two things will happen. Either God brings a revival and transforms our world or Jesus returns and it is judgment day when God sets things right. Either way, evil will not win. God wins.
Pray that ancient prayer that concludes the book of Revelation. “Come Lord Jesus.” Maranatha. Come either in revival or in your second coming. But, come Lord Jesus. Let me be your instrument of change. Make me brave in you. Be my rock in the storm. Then, use me.
Know that you are not alone in this. Yes, Jesus is there. But, more than that, your brothers and sisters in Jesus are there. You are not alone. We are the church. And, as we have learned over the past couple of months, the church matters. Nothing can stop it. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. It is the most powerful force on earth, because of the One we serve.
Remember the word of God. In the midst of persecution far worse than what we are experiencing, Paul gave this advice to the Philippian Christians, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” Those are the things of life not death, the things that remind you of Jesus. Think about the things of Jesus.
And then Paul said these “impossible” words that I give to you, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
So, be angry. But do something positive with your anger. Work for a better world. And pray, “Amen! Come Lord Jesus!”
I will see you in church,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus,