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The Church’s Response To Those Left Angry and Fearful

There is this belief by many Christians that you aren’t allowed to get angry. That anger is somehow a sin and that we must always have the slap-happy smile of a naive Christian on our face, engaging in surface level pleasantries, and using happy-go-lucky tones with every word that we speak. But this just isn’t true. It’s far from true. Anger is not a sin, but actually, anger is often required. We see this emotion reflected in God throughout scripture and he is not capable of sin. Therefore, anger is not in-and-of-itself a sin. Anger becomes sinful only once our sin touches it: when our anger is unrighteous and self-seeking. This week, many, many people are being mocked for their anger and told that it is petulant and misplaced. And why are they angry? Perhaps people are angry because 80% of evangelical Christians aligned themselves with Donald Trump and the rhetoric of nationalism, racism, misogyny and homophobia. 80 percent! I cannot stress enough to you, Christian, that we must pay attention to the allegiance that the church has given Trump and to not ignore the fear and anger of our neighbors.

For many, the election of Donald Trump is not disappointment that their party’s candidate wasn’t elected. No, for many, this is far more personal than that. Women can remember just a few weeks ago hearing our now president-elect saying that he can just “grab women by the pussy” and do whatever he wants with them. For many women who have been sexually harassed, abused and assaulted, this is personal and they are angry. Muslim Americans can remember our president-elect suggesting that they should be kept in “safe zones” and carry identifications cards disclosing their religion. For many of them, this is personal and they are angry. Immigrants, both documented and undocumented, still hear our president-elect calling them unwanted and dangerous. For many of them, this is personal and they are angry. And still, even more Christians are unwilling to see their anger and and fear as being plausible and refuse to connect the seriousness of president-elect Trump’s words and our neighbor’s anger and fear. This is astounding and wrong. The bible teaches Christians that we are to mourn and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15), not to judge whether or not they should be weeping. But take a look through your social media news feeds right now. Has this been the church’s reaction? Have your brothers and sisters in Christ been reacting to our neighbor’s fear and anger with self-righteous pride, indignation, and judgement? If so, this should make you angry.

And what is Anger? Tim Keller defines it as being energy that is aroused in defense of something good and released against something evil. If you see something that is good being threatened and you don’t get angry, you are not good person. If you see the oppressed being used and justice being trampled and you do not get angry, you are not like God. You are not caring about what God cares about and hating what God hates. And God has to get angry because he’s good. The more good, holy and righteous that you are, the more angry you are going to get when you see things that need to be defended. And right now, our neighbor’s need to be defended. Our brothers and sisters who are fearful and angry at the election of our new president-elect should be defended. Not ridiculed and judged.

We should be beside ourselves with grief that there are those in our midsts who are fearful for their safety by those who voted for Trump. Is this you? Are there people in your city who are afraid of you because you have voted for Donald Trump? Does this grieve you or cause you to be angry and prideful? It does not matter if their fear and anger is justified or not. The question is if this grieves you? Because like it or not, the church is in the cross hairs right now. We are seen as being instrumental in electing Donald Trump, and we were instrumental in his election and rise to power. As the people of God, how do we react? What do we do? Do we respond with unrighteous anger? Do we tell them to suck it up? Do we tell them that their fears and anger are irrational? Childish? Or, do we respond with love? Empathy? Compassion? Church, we must look to the cross.

Bear One Another’s Burdens. Galatians 6:2 says that we are to carry one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the love of Christ. This is what the Lord has done for you. He saw us in our misery and came to earth for us. He suffered, he died, and he rose again so that we could be made fully righteous. And so we are called to extend this same sacrificial love that carries each other’s burdens likewise. We need to show love, concern, empathy, and compassion with those who are scared and angry.

Do Not Boast. The damage has already been done and we cannot undo it. We have irreversibly thrown our allegiance to Donald Trump and have moved our neighbor’s to fear and anger. And we must not boast. If you voted for Donald Trump, you must refrain from boasting. Your identity is not in his campaign, his election, and his presidency. Your hope does not come from the greatness of America and the exaltation of being in the majority. And you are alienating those in your midst. You are communicating that you are not a safe person for them come to and are part of a community that will not welcome them. Your identity and righteousness is not your own but comes from God. So, do not boast.

Do not Show Partiality. I know, it’s tough. We want to surround ourselves and show favor to those like us; those who vote like we do, live like we do, look like we do, believe and behave like we do, but remember that this is detestable to the Lord.  “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory… If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:1;8-9). We are called to love and show care and kindness to all of our neighbors, not just a select few. We are to look at all of our neighbor’s, those in our communities who are fearful and angry and grieving right now, and show them mercy and compassion.

 

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