I considered taking another week off but knew I should write. I need to say something you are unlikely to hear or read about in the news. I don’t want to speak about the sins of the El Paso shooter.
Instead, I want to speak about the sins of the saints, myself included.
I have been floating on a cruise ship, watching the whales and the wildlife. I wish I were still enjoying the majestic beauty of Alaska, where the sun only set for a few hours before the next morning rolled around.
But, we don’t live on a cruise ship. We live in the real world.
The sin born of righteous anger
As Christians, we should view the mass shootings on Saturday with God’s perspective and be incredibly cautious to live today with his holy standards. Satan doesn’t care which side of “right” you stand on, as long as you sin where you stand.
James 1:20 is an important reminder to each of God’s children today: “For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
I can testify that some of my greatest sins were born of righteous anger. All of us have a right to be enraged at evil.
The important question for all of us today is this: Is our rage producing the righteousness of God?
God hates too
Did you know that God hates?
Solomon knew that and left us with that knowledge. He wrote: “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16–19).
God hated Saturday’s news about the El Paso shooting more than we did. I cannot fathom the controlling evil filling that young man’s heart and mind. It is beyond understanding. God hated the shedding of innocent blood and the heart that devised such a wicked plan. God hates the lies and the false witness that was breathed out as a manifesto.
But there is a glaring caution in Solomon’s words for every Christian today.
God also hates the haughty eyes of those who think their sins don’t harm. God hates our lies when we say things we have no right to say.
And it is the seventh “hate” that each of us should carefully consider today. God hates it when we sow discord.
If my Facebook page looks a little like yours, there is plenty of sin born from righteous anger among the family of God.
We need to realize that God hates our sin too.
If you read this blog, you know that God wants you to love. God wants you to care. God wants you to think before you speak, type, or share. The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
But you can count on this truth: The Holy Spirit can handle your hate. He can redeem it and produce the righteousness our culture needs to witness from God’s people.
My husband, Jim, and I were talking about the shooting last Saturday and realized we had the same thoughts. We weren’t as shocked by the news as we had been in the past. It wasn’t a shooting; it was another shooting. It was disturbing to realize we weren’t surprised by the news, just saddened.
We wondered what Christians had previously crossed that boy’s path. Did they have an opportunity to reach out to an angry child but spoke words of contempt or rage instead? How many Christians had turned away from that boy in the past, with disgust or distaste, thinking they were giving that kid what his behavior deserved?
Who could have offered the grace that none of us deserve instead?
Is the next shooter your neighbor?
That “kid” lived near my part of town. Maybe I sat in a movie theater with him. Maybe I watched him act up at a mall. Maybe he saw me roll my eyes or turn my head away when he cursed or acted out. Maybe I had a chance and missed it.
Maybe I will have a chance again, with another child, tomorrow.
What does God hate?
Anger that does not produce the righteousness of God.
The cruise ship isn’t home
What are you going to do with your anger now?
That question is what led me to write this blog.
A lot of God’s people would choose to live on a cruise ship. It’s easier to sail through this life sheltered in the church and avoiding realities. But, while a cruise ship is a great place to visit, it isn’t where God has called us to live.
This world will always have evil. It always has. But, it can also be filled with God’s powerful love.
What are God’s children contributing to the culture today? Is it their righteous anger or the righteousness of God?
If God’s people won’t share the light, we are just increasing the darkness.
Again, it doesn’t matter that we stand on the side of right if we’re sinning where we stand. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to redeem our anger.
Who knows? The kid or neighbor who receives our words and attitudes of grace may be forever changed.
God would love that.