The absolute worst example of discipleship is the angry Christian.
I am tempted to just leave that statement there and move along with the day. I won’t do that because it is too easy. I meet an angry Christian every week. This person usually comes in two kinds and both types justify their being angry and often abusive. The first type believes the world is going the wrong way. The other kind believes he or she is being shoved around (read: persecuted) by everyone else.
I see no justification for either point of view. The first kind who see the world going the wrong way should ask what he or she expected the world to be. If the world ever could go the right way, would we need a God-given vision that would help us set it right? Often, this believer has indulged in some self-serving nostalgia about the way the world and the church was some time in the past. It may have been in the believer’s lifetime. It may be some time before the believer was born. In either case, the believer looks back with rose-tinted view screens to a supposedly freer and simpler time. Why is life complicated? Because that is the way life is. Yet, this believer wishes to shout the negative. Life, he or she maintains, was better in the past. If we could go with the simple Biblical vision of what life should be and once was, we will have what we need. I sometimes blame this view on the long-running drama “Little House on the Prairie” or maybe “Bambi” with the idyllic pastoral or wilderness setting. “Don Quixote” is the story that should cure such a view. Or better yet “Ecclesiastes” can be a corrective. The biggest problem for the church with this kind of Angry Christian is that age will often reinforce the anger until it becomes bitterness. And a bitter Christian can be demonic.
The second kind of angry Christian is already crossing into bitterness. Therefore, he or she is in true mortal danger. This era where everyone claims to oppose bullying makes the angry Christian look for some one or some situation to justify his or her own personal failures as some one else’s fault. It is a narcissistic attitude where the believer thinks he or she did nothing wrong and is being singled out unjustly. It can be true the person did nothing wrong. But, we do not live with only the circumstances of human actions. There are a great number of processes at work that affect an individual life. One may argue that persecution comes in many forms. It is difficult to claim persecution at anytime where believers are suffering no ill effects and can be either fat or fit with no fear of losing life or limb. This person suffers from an unjustifiable anger that has already crossed into bitterness. The potential for lashing out in demonic violence has been witnessed too many times in the history of the faith to be discounted or not repented.
Christians must remember that the world ultimately belongs to God. We wait for its’ redemption as well as our own. “God so loved the world…” the creed of evangelicalism reads. The apostle warns, “Your anger does not work the justice of God.” Nor from the prophet to David, can a man (or woman) of blood build the house of God.
Christians are to seek the peace and the welfare of the people among whom we live. Why do we find anger so necessary to the lives of believers? Good question. Find an answer that fits the vision of Jesus. You can not do it. But, you can get the vision of the kingdom Jesus offers.