Many of my Christian friends are angry. Or afraid. Or both. At least, that’s the way it looks in their posts on social media.
And that’s too bad, for several reasons—
- There’s no reason to be angry or afraid.
- We make really bad decisions when we’re angry or afraid.
- We make lousy ambassadors for Christ when we’re angry or afraid. Our actions belie our profession.
In the history of the church, there have been many times when God’s people got angry when they shouldn’t have. Martin Luther was famous for getting angry—and while we might say that he often had some pretty good reasons to be angry—indulgences come to mind—he let things get out of hand with some frequency. He believed, as modern Lutherans do, that the body of Christ is really present “in, with, and under” the elements of the Lord’s Supper—and Zwingli didn’t. Zwingli thought Christ was “spiritually present,” but not physically present, at Communion. Luther consigned poor Zwingli to the fires of hell over that one, and in the harshest of terms:
Beware of this man Zwingli, and shun his book as the poison of the prince of devils; for he is entirely perverted, and has entirely lost sight of Christ.
Yes, he got angry when he shouldn’t have.
And God’s people have gotten scared when they shouldn’t have. The fact that Thomas Cranmer is well known for his numerous recantations seems to imply that in between his recantations were recantations of his recantations. It was all very complicated. And, apparently, scary.
But looking back at this history reminds us that God’s people are at their best when they could be afraid but aren’t—or when they could be angry but aren’t. Those are the times we celebrate. Those are the people we want to be.
And, as I’ve said, these are not times when we should be afraid or angry.
I’d like to suggest 7 principles that should drive our thinking, our feeling, our words, and our actions in a time when many people think the world is about to go over the edge.
Take a deep breath, focus your thinking, and get ready to change the way you see the world, the culture, and the rage of our day.
Maybe you can make a difference.