Friday, July 10, 2009

Black and White and Red All Over

Some things are clearly black and white to me. There is right and there is wrong - end of story. The addition of red is for the color I see after I feel convicted that it is clearly wrong. Because my tendency in those situations is to become angry and, unfortunately, potentially offensive.

In the last week or two, there have been at least three such incidents:
  1. In one case I think my points were valid, but I could have presented them more gently, especially because they were Christians. I already offered my apology to them though.

  2. In another case, maybe I could have handled it a little more gently. But I did the best that I could and to be honest I feel completely justified and don't regret it one bit.

  3. And the last one is the most important of the three. I care about this individual and while I don't regret bringing the topic up, I probably handled it quite poorly. I am mixed about what to do next, if anything, and I am really seeking God's wisdom.

Here's the issue: I believe there is such a thing as righteous anger, that when things are blatantly wrong that people should get angry about it. And when I look around and see everybody keeping their lips shut and their faces turned away, ignoring the elephant in the room, I simply can take it no more. Ideally though, what I really want is to be gentle and speak lovingly, while still being outwardly honest with what burns inside me as The Truth.

However, and this may sound surprising - I really don't want to be the one to say something - I know I'm horrible at it. I am much more proficient at angering people and turning them against the very cause that I am professing, than I am at convincing them. I would much rather the job be given to someone else who is more capable and able than I. But still, I strongly believe that something should be said, no it must be said. And if no one else is going to speak up than it's better to let the words out of my own mouth and risk alienating myself than to keep quiet and silent in fear of retribution. Maybe another way of putting it is that I would rather get my @$$ kicked than to back away in cowardice.

Are we really talking bravado and chivalry here though, or just foolishness and hastiness? That is the biggest question. How can I speak what I wholeheartedly think is the truth, while still adequately or perhaps even proficiently be representing Jesus? If I were truly speaking words of wisdom, wouldn't they be convincing and thought provoking, instead of abrasive and provoking others only to anger.

Even Jesus angered people though, particularly the pharisees and money changers. On the other hand, that form of righteous anger was expressed specifically against people who were misrepresenting God or disgracing His house (the church). So does that mean I should only get angry, or at least express my anger, if the subject in question is about God?

As you can see, this subject has been coming up a lot lately, and I hate the conflict resulting from it. Don't get me wrong, I can handle the alienation part, or even the un-friending (from Facebook especially), but I am earnestly praying about, and I think I will even fast some of next week for the following:
  1. That I would be absolutely certain about my position and the facts surrounding it before I make my opinion known.

  2. That I could speak (or type) in a way that communicates my position and/or inspires change, instead of just causing anger and rejection.

  3. Most importantly, that I can represent my God and my Savior. Am I talking or speaking in a way that pleases God? Will people grow closer to Jesus as a result, or reject everything that I say and stand for from now on?

  4. That I would have wisdom for knowing whether I should make amends for any hurt or offense that I have caused. And if so, then how do I go about it?

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