Monday, September 29, 2008

In Your Anger, Do Not Sin

Edwin preached on anger yesterday. I had to step out for a few minutes to quiet Ella. I could hear her all the way from the nursery. Maybe I should've stayed in the service because I feel the need to talk about one or two of my biggest pet peeves.

If you know me pretty well, you will know that racial prejudice drives me up the wall. There are some stereotypes that make me cringe to hear them. In fact, the main issue that I take with private school is that most of them have very few minority students. Since Edwin and I plan to adopt internationally, that may make our children feel a little out of place. Even if it doesn't, I don't want my children to grow up believing that all people look about the same, or that white people are the only "normal" people.

I can't understand for one second how a Christian can assume that the color of someone's skin lessens their value to God or the amount of His glory that person holds. Edwin told me that one of his professors mentioned that racism is a likely root for Jonah's disobedience. He didn't want to go to the Ninevites because he didn't believe that they deserved to hear from God as much as his own people did. That's just a theory, and shouldn't be taught as fact, but it fits the story well. Racism has no place among God's people. He made us. He designed us all well. Jesus made a point to speak to people that no one else would. He sat down to dinner with those that the Jewish leaders of the time wouldn't make eye contact with. He was a liberator.

In a similar fashion, it makes me even more angry to hear people use my God as an excuse to hate people. You hear it often in discussions about homosexuality and abortion. How dare anyone use the name of my King, who died for the sins of His people out of love, as an excuse to hate sinners? When we mistreat people because they have sinned, we break the second commandment. "Love your neighbor as yourself." Why do we think that who they sleep with or a terminated pregnancy changes that command? Most of the time, people who try to use the Bible to excuse their sin don't know the verses that they want to quote. I once heard a guy in an experiment conducted by one of those magazine news television shows, which one I cannot remember, swear every other word, and then try to defend his disdain for homosexuals by the Bible. Granted, I don't think he could tell the difference between the Bible and Koran if his life depended on it. Even though I'm positive that he was lost, he marred our faith with his words.

Here's the confession: I sometimes get so angry about these things, that I am challenged in loving the people who make these mistakes. I know, how hypocritical can a person be? When I heard that guy on t.v. saying my Lord's name in his defense of hatred, I had a very hard time maintaining any love for him. I'm trying very hard to be aware of this weakness, one equal to the weaknesses listed above. I don't know why such things drive me so crazy, but even if they do make me angry, I can control my response. I can intentionally think on something else. Change the subject. Watch a nice, happy VeggieTales movie. Edwin's very helpful in this. I'm thankful for him. Although he doesn't have any racism in him, and he never hates people due to their sin, he isn't as emotional in his response to them. I'm glad that the same God that forgives the sins of the hated and the hater (if they come to Him) is willing to forgive me, a sinner like everyone else.

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