I belong to Jesus, which is sufficient for me to handle all that the world can throw at me. I truly believe that. However, I have real struggles with much of what I see around me. The chaos in our government and in every political camp. The abuses of people and the malicious uses of power that have corrupted otherwise decent institutions. The degradation of our educational system and the twisting of history that has taken place. I get angry with the breakdown of families, not to mention the 63 million lives taken since Roe vs. Wade. It’s easy for followers of Christ to be angered by the persecution and marginalization of faith and the 24/7 attacks on truth and common sense.
I know I’m not alone with my indignation, because many people I know share these same sentiments. Some of my friends have become consumed with it. I also have at times, and being a news junkie at heart, it’s difficult to avoid constant negative distraction. If I’m not careful, this distraction can lead to anxiety and anger. Social media feeds all this negativity and if I and others don’t control our consumption of and response to all the madness around us, we can end up as angry and uncivil as some of the people whose ideas and actions bother us the most.
How do you confront the contemptible?
Left to my own devices I cannot respond graciously to everything that is divisive or toxic in my surroundings. I must continuously re-center myself on Jesus. Without Him, I am both hopeless and helpless. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 reminds me that I need to trust God’s plan on a scale way beyond what I can see.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
As Christ’s followers, we have chosen a path to eternity with our King. Our decision to follow Jesus is a lifetime covenant to grow in our relationship with Him and to learn all we possibly can about Him. Through Scripture He has revealed Himself to us with words that have life and truth in them and the eternal freshness of His breath on them. And with our humble and prayerful submission to Him, He offers us fellowship like no other, now and forever.
He is in control. He wants me to focus on who He is, as in 1 Peter 5:6-11, and have a different perspective on what I may perceive as wrongdoing or suffering:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Without prayer and time alone with Him I am destined to become swallowed up. I will fall into my own worldly form of “righteous indignation” that will be loaded with anger and self-righteousness.
Most believers are quite familiar with Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.However, verse 24 reminds us that by belonging to Jesus, we have crucified all of the flesh (my flesh) that would otherwise occupy, distract or consume us (me). Galatians 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
That means I can stand firm in truth, while still loving others (love, peace, patience, self-control). It means I can be confident that my creator is truly in control of the things that I can’t control.