raging

15 06 2013

I firmly believe that one of the things that can hold us – the church – back from reaching our potential is a lack of honesty about how we feel about God. There is such a subtle and unspoken pressure to be alright with God, to be positive about God. And if we don’t feel like that, for fear of looking like we’ve got it wrong, we keep quiet.

Which is why the following conversation started by a new Christian friend on Facebook can teach us something so important.:

facebook psalm

Why do I think this can teach us something? Because it’s so biblical. Biblical?! Yes, you know those awkward bits of the Psalms about killing enemies because they are evil, about dashing the heads of babies on rocks, about devouring enemies with dogs? This is that. This is brazen honesty before God, it’s taking the belly rage and whipping God with it. This is what we want to happen, in the moment, when we are angry.

What I am not saying is that the sentiment is right. And I don’t believe the David and the other biblical ragers did either. We can’t use it to justify doing bad stuff. But what is right is the honesty, something we shy away from in church so much. Which is weird, when the Bible is stacked full of people kicking the verbal hoojimey’s out of God and his failure to act, his failure to rescue, about how the evil prosper and the good die young; and about how he forgives our enemies, looks graciously upon those we hate, and shows mercy to those who plainly don’t deserve it.

There are people I know who are raging against God not healing them from terminal illness, from grief, from depression, from mental health problems, from addictions, from abuse. We must allow people to rage. IT’S BIBLICAL! What we don’t do is stay there, live there, become twisted and bitter and gnarled. It is our responsibility as church to be honest with each other, and then afterwards to help each other through it, to then have sensible discussions about grace and love and forgiveness and patience and justice and mercy.

And regarding the above conversation? There’s no simple answers, because we each have to find our own way to see God’s grace at work. In our society it’s ok to just be angry and vengeful; when we discover God’s grace we discover we can’t do that anymore. We can be horrified, disgusted, deeply moved and angry; but we can’t stay there.

Sometimes even that can make us angry. Grace is scandalously unjust. 

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5 responses

16 06 2013
Shelley

Whoa…is that the most extraordinary brutal honesty I’ve ever heard from someone in leadership in the Church! “Grace is scandalously unjust”! You’ve knocked me off my chair with that one…gratefully so! I left my Church because I could never express my frustration with God without being ripped to shreds. So I went silent and sang the hallelujah’s in agony because I couldn’t reconcile my disappointment in God and sing praise to Him at the same time. I left the Church angry but didn’t stay rooted in disappointment with God. I seek him in everything I do and have found Him in so many places away from the Church that I don’t know whether I will ever go back. I feel mute there… but one day maybe…when I hear someone talk like this! It gives me hope for the Church. Wow…God bless you and amen!

16 06 2013
Kevin

Thanks Shelley for your honesty as well. Your story is, unfortunately, the same as many experience, and if I have helped in some way, that brings me a little warm glow! I throw these ideas out there and never know who will read and what situation they are in. God bless you too.

27 06 2013
Shelley

Warm glow….please know that there is a little spark burning a million miles from where you are and your words are fanning a fire. Truly, Christ through the Spirit is at work and its awesome! 🙂

16 06 2013
heidimorton777

What has helped me is to be “real” with God. But I have gone through the emotions….why God, why me, why my family? no answer…….Ranting and raving til I spent. Now it’s like I just dont know, do I even care?

17 06 2013
carol

Life is unjust and God has shins big enough for us to kick.
I have found if I don’t vent my anger and frustration on Him, then someone else will get it in the neck unjustly!
God has first hand experience of injustice, we only have to look as far as the cross to see he understands…and HE was truly innocent…unlike me!

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