I have come to the realization that I have been angry for a large part of my life as a Christian.
I have often been angry at God. Angry because I didn’t feel like he was doing things for me the way I wanted Him to. In self pity I would be angry that God would allow me or my family to “suffer” in some way when we had given so much to the ministry and were doing the best we could to live a Christian life. I was angry at God as it sometimes seemed He wasn’t living up to His end of the bargain!
I have been angry at other people. I have been angry at people who lived the way they wanted to…without any thought about the God I lived my life for. I was angry at people because they were sinners and imperfect. I was angry when people weren’t as fired up about God as I was. As I look back on my ministry, I am often ashamed to think of the messages I preached out of anger and the ways that I responded to people. I yelled at people from the pulpit because I could…and I was angry.
I have been angry at myself because I knew deep down that I also wasn’t living up to the standards and rules that I was holding everyone else to. I knew I was a failure and I knew I was a sinner too..and that made me angry because I didn’t want to be. I just didn’t know how to change.
There’s a lot more things to say about this. I just don’t have the time, space or courage to write it in a blog. But here is where I am today….
I have decided to quit being angry. I have come to the realization that what my life has been a glaring example of is what happens when a person is more focused on religion…than on Jesus.
Religion tells me that my faith is centered on me…my works, my feelings, my ideas etc. Religion alone tells me I have to perform…and when I don’t perform well (which I won’t)…it makes me angry. When other people don’t live up to the standards of my religion…well that makes me angry too!
The problem is focus. When my motive is mere religion…then I am tempted to focus on myself and others. There is nothing wrong with self-reflection and God would certainly have us consider other people, but to borrow a phrase from Matt Chandler- “we make crummy gods.”
I need to move away from religion and all of its man-centered ideas and move more towards a Christ-centered relationship with God that is focused on the gospel. The truth is…I am imperfect. Other people are imperfect and we will never measure up. The love of God is revealed to us in that even while are imperfect…He still loves us and that should be enough for me. My identity and value as a person is not found in my performance (or others’) but is found solely in the person of Christ.
If my passionate pursuit of religious things has ever hurt anyone reading this post…then I sincerely ask for your forgiveness. I am sure I will still battle this temptation and will occasionally find myself angry all over again. But today…God has given me the awareness that my time on this earth is short and I choose to reflect the love of Christ with the time I have left. Pray for me and join me in laying aside our anger and resentment over life, others and ourselves. Let’s leave a positive impact on this generation with the love and grace of Christ.