a guest post (2nd of 2) by Trey Lyon – http://thelyonfamily.org
In youth group, I can remember memorizing Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger, do not sin”. I always assumed that meant count to ten, calm down, and don’t act out of anger. But maybe it actually means you should act out of anger – it just has to be the right kind of anger. The fact is, passion wanes over time …but anger has a way of staying with us.
So, if human salvation lies in the hands of the “creatively maladjusted” (as Dr. King put it), does that apply to Jesus? Well, He certainly never responded the way people thought He would in any given situation. Jesus thought feeding starving people was more important than maintaining a stifling legalistic observance of the Sabbath. He fought for time to hang out with hookers and loan sharks and eschewed invites from the Pharisees to come sit at the religious cool kids’ table.
Jesus was God in flesh – and when God came down to incarnate this humanity thing, all kinds of maladjustment was going on! But instead of burning the whole thing down in anger, He found opportunities to bring healing, peace, and shalom – which in Hebrew means “wholeness”.
If you want to serve with passion, you can! If you want to serve because a book or speaker made you feel like you should – please, by all means, go for it! But if you’re in this thing for the long haul – if you want faithful service to be your response to God’s grace, and not just a one-time “project” or something you did for a year or a summer – I suggest you ask God to help you pay attention to the things that make you angry. Even the silly things.
Negative political ads ticking you off? Could it be that you wish people could just let there “yes” be “yes” and their “no” be “no”? You’re in good company there.
Do the Kardashians make you lose your mind? Maybe you’re mad that we have a culture that rewards people for bad behavior and ignores corrupt dictators, child traffickers, and minority teenagers in the city.
Does litter drive you crazy? It’s probably because you see creation as a gift of God, and you wish everybody else – especially other Christians – understood that.
A lifestyle of service rarely comes from a single moment. I can tell you of transcendent moments on mission trips where I felt God move me to serve – and that momentary passion served me well …for awhile. Maybe you’ve had similar experiences. But I can also tell you that when I found out that
- our local high school has a 78% dropout rate,
- that prisons are built based on the 3rd grade graduation rate of African-American and Hispanic males,
- that one out of every three African-American men are incarcerated or under judicial constraint in a country not yet 50 years removed from the civil rights movement…
…when I found out those things, I found something worth being truly angry about! I found something that I think makes Jesus angry! And I found a place to direct my anger toward hopefully accomplishing some good for God’s Kingdom right in my own neighborhood. …but that’s just me.
What makes you mad? And what “good” might God be leading you to do through that sense of anger?