Righteous anger. We’ve heard about it all our lives in church. How Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple, whip in hand. How anger isn’t a sin, but how we deal with it might lead us into sin.
Only that never made much sense to me.
Jesus didn’t deal with his anger in this particular situation calmly. He didn’t rationally explain to the people in the temple the issues he had with them and line out a 4 step plan to making it right.
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ Matthew21:12-13
Maybe I’m the last one to this party - learning that the cause of the anger determines its sinfulness. Then of course, how we deal with it reflects why we’re angry.
Righteous anger has never led anyone to scream expletives.
Sadly, the more I mature, the more I understand righteous anger:
A church representative who asks the mentally handicap person to find another seat because she’s too distracting on the front row.
A church requiring those seeking membership to sign a covenant– a covenant that even Jesus couldn’t sign.
Then there are the gray areas. Am I being divisive or am I truly hurt on behalf of the Lord? This weekend was once such case.
Every now and then, my friends and I attend a Saturday fellowship luncheon. The point of the event is for women to come together for fellowship. It’s not a Bible Study, nor a sermon – just ladies coming together for a good time.
The event organizers had set up a fashion show for the luncheon. We watched a video demonstrating all the different ways to accessorize with a scarf. The emcees gave away beauty-related door prizes while the models changed from one outfit to another. The models – women of all ages from the church congregation – wore outfits put together from a local retailer.
As I watched some of the women walk strut down the make-shift catwalk, turn and pose, my heart cried out. “NO! NO! This is all wrong!!” Of course I kept my mouth shut, except to shovel food in it.
My heart hurt.
For the woman who might be in the crowd that has suffered from an eating disorder only to see her pain take the form of an answer to a high fashion crossword.
For the woman who can’t afford flashy clothes.
For the woman who will never be as beautify as the models her church has chosen, much less those in the media.
I’m currently going through a study of how we live in this culture without being overtaken by it. I couldn’t help but think that this show had it backwards. After it was over, they tried to close by taking the focus off the clothes and putting it back on God.
“God thinks you are beautiful.”
Thankfully at this point one of my friends leaned over and said to me “Really – where does it say that??”
These women didn’t purposefully put on this show to make women feel badly about themselves. Quite the opposite actually. They hoped that through this show women could find small ways to be fashionable, thus making them feel better about themselves.
If I thought for a minute this wasn’t done by loving women trying to do good, I would disassociate myself with functions related to this church. That’s not the case here. I believe them to be very well intentioned.
My question, I suppose, is when do good intentions stop being enough?
Where’s the line between using the exciting worship experience to draw people in and making sure that the experience doesn’t become the object of the worship?