They don’t act very Christian… How am I acting?

career-consulting-self-reflection_158268752-960x523Have you ever felt like you needed to write a blog posting to your own self?  That’s where I am this morning.  I need to write this to me, but you are welcome to look on.  If it speaks to you, praise God that the Holy Spirit spoke to you through Him, not me.

On the night before He died, Jesus commanded his disciples, a mixed group of mismatched ideals, to follow one overarching rule:

seder, passover, last supper, Jesus, messiah, true freethinkerJohn 13:34-35 (NLT)
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

This is a struggle for me, a pig-headed Irishman.

Richard Gere as King David
Richard Gere as King David

A quick search of Biblegateway.com reveals that there are 325 uses of the word “angry” in the new living translation.  One Bible hero, King David is a serial offender in the grips of the sin of anger.  It doesn’t escape me that I am his namesake, as was my Baptist preacher grandfather.  I might come by my capacity for anger honestly, but it certainly isn’t honorable.  I hope I can learn from Jesus, and not from David.  I really must learn to love my enemies, those who might attack me, and those who say things I think are wrong or mean-spirited.  This is especially true as I look inside the Body of Christ.

1 Chronicles 13:9-10 Uzzah Touches the Ark
1 Chronicles 13:9-10 Uzzah Touches the Ark

It’s an interesting battlefield that emerges as we look at David.  He regularly displays anger, and regularly appears to learn the lesson.  Let’s look at some Scripture:

When transporting the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, the servant Uzzah stumbled, touched the Ark, and was killed by God.  David’s reaction is recorded for all time:

1 Chronicles 13:11 (NLT)
11 David was angry because the LORD’s anger had burst out against Uzzah. He named that place Perez-uzzah (which means “to burst out against Uzzah”), as it is still called today.

This same king was convicted of his anger, time after time.  The message was entering his heart, but David struggled mightily to translate the message into actions in his mind, and body.  At the rebellion of his son Absalom, David writes:

Psalm 4:4 (NLT)
4 Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

Anger in the Body of Christ
Anger in the Body of Christ

When anger enters the Body of Christ through one of its members, and I realize I am one of those members, it is injurious to the entire mission of the Greatest Commandment and the Great Commission.  I see so many wonderful members of His body, called to do unique things that are both different, and similar, to the callings I have.  Still, in my understanding, I can misunderstand their reading of Scripture.  I can certainly misunderstand parts of their calling that differ from my calling.

Likewise, others will attack what they misunderstand of my calling.  My brothers and sisters are just as capable of the sin of anger as I am.  Bearing that in mind, I realize that the only way I can properly respond to those who express anger toward me is to seek to have the Mind of Christ.  Paul writes to the church in Philippi:

AME Church in Prayer
AME Church in Prayer

Philippians 2:1-5 (ESV)
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,
2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Morning coffee, with the lens and mirror of God's Word.
Morning coffee, with the lens and mirror of God’s Word.

My prayer is that I am mindful of this post.  This one is for me to read back to myself.  You are welcome to look in, and to participate… we’re all welcome at His table.  Let’s praise the One who loves us, so we can learn to love each other.

1 Peter 3:8-9 (NLT)
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.
9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.

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8 comments

  1. Learning to not let anger get the best of you and to instead focus on understanding definitely takes some effort in restraint, patience and thoughtfulness. I know I’ve had my troubles with it in the past, and still do now and then. All the best in your journey in converting your anger into quicker understandings!

    That Psalm 4:4 is a good one. Pretty much nailed what I had in mind before I had a chance to type it.

  2. I felt compelled to reply. Since you are a pig-headed Irishman, I’m going to assume you grew up in an Irish-Catholic household. I did! Catholic School (which I loved) was where I perfected both my sense of humor AND my sense of guilt. But anyway, after a divorce, I’m a lapsed Catholic. I am, however, the greatest lapsed Catholic on earth. I still pray to the saints and have quite the listing of patron saints for almost every activity. On the serious side, though, I do have issues with The Church–like the divorce thing, the pedophile priest thing, the fact that a woman cannot be a priest. BUT, I love the Pope–he’s the best pope ever. EVER! I also take God’s teachings of being kind and loving very seriously. In all the years of my Catholic education, I’ve never ONCE heard a nun or a priest condemn another religion. It bothers me when Catholics are bashed. No religion is perfect. And I have a huge issue with “bible bangin’ so-called “Christians” who use God and Jesus as an excuse to spread hate ((see my post on Josh Duggar and my “Hippie Jesus”). http://atypical60.com/2015/05/30/josh-duggars-final-judgement-from-atypical60s-point-of-view/
    I’m rambling. Sorry. Anyway, I really am glad I found your blog–and even though we may or may not agree on ideologies or religious beliefs, it’s cool to read your thoughts!
    Best,
    Cathe

    • Thanks for the feedback. Your written voice is so engaging. I don’t mind answering a few questions.

      No, actually, I am not Catholic. I was raised agnostic, but became a Christian at age 25. 17-years later I felt myself called to the ministry. I was licensed by a Baptist church, graduated a Baptist seminary twice (3 if you count undergrad), and now serve at a non-denominational church leading a broad-spectrum recovery and counseling ministry. I really don’t consider myself any denomination; I’m Christian.

      On an academic level, writing seminary arguments and such, I do comparison/contrast positions between historic denominations and theological positions, but that starts and ends on an academic level. In my work, there is no denomination; just people. I have friends across the landscape of Christian believers, and non or other believers.

      I wrote the post to focus my own attention on my long-term life principles, when I sometimes let the things of the world get under my skin. I’m glad it has connected with a few others. We’re all human, and all fall short.

      Thanks again for your response.

      • Oh absolutely–we all fall short more than we stand tall at times! I think that it is extremely important that we respect other’s religious ideas. And sometimes I get really, really angry too–I get angry at those who judge–but then we all judge. Basically, I just want everyone to get along. Doesn’t matter what religion or ideology people follow. Wars are fought because of religious ideology. It stinks. We just need to respect.

      • Until someone appears to be seeking answers in faith, they’re really not ready to receive Christ. There is a reason they call it “The Offense of The Gospel”… The Christian faith is wonderful, but not easy. Beating people in the head with a Bible or religion doesn’t help anyone. But loving does work.

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