I have a confession. I am a loudmouthed, obnoxious and opinionated jerk who knows that, more often than not and without a doubt, I’m right.
The few times I’m wrong, I know I quickly find out I am wrong, fix it, and then I am right again. I see Mary Poppins being practically perfect in every way and laugh—she’s such a hack.
But that’s all introduction to my very real problem: I find it easy to hate.
Yeah, I can real easily go from annoyance to hatred. I’m a walking example of a person that Jesus speaks about. The person who is angry at his brother and has already committed murder. Yeah, I know Paul’s words about being angry and not sinning; but I’m the guy that if I get hot enough I most likely will sin.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying every tie I’m angry I’m sinning but I know where I’m heading. Hate hate hate.
And I have reasons, boy do I.
Here’s one: the preacher steals his sermons from another real famous preacher whose messages are out on MP3 but not readily available to everyone in the assemblies I get together with. I have a problem with that. Not only is it plagiarism but it says something about the Word of God being a commodity that has to be packaged a certain way to make one’s itinerant speaking career profitable. Sure, some guys might influence you like crazy (you’ll hear me preach and you’ll know that I am heavily influenced by David Gooding, DA Carson, CS Lewis and Tim Keller), but the whole stealing the sermon bit. Wow.
Or here’s another one: people love doing exactly what James warns against; inviting the really famous and nice people to their homes instead of the not so nice and socially awkward people—they can go elsewhere. Don’t bother inviting Those People over. Invite the people that can advance your career—be it secular or otherwise.
What about the way one treats their leadership. Because the leadership might be meek servants then we are completely justified in walking all over them and making them serve meekly—even at their financial loss.
Here’s another that really gets under my skin: building a ministry by shaking the right hands. Oh this drives me crazy since these folk often come up with a handy label (“The Holy Spirit opened the doors”) when what they really mean is that they sat in the right church, hung out with the right people, spoke the right words in front of the right ears, and then they’re put in positions of so-called Godly leadership. Ugh.
Here’s another one: itinerant preaching (myself included) with no heart for getting down and dirty. Why fold chairs when you’re the preacher, right? And on, and on, and on, and on..
I can keep coming up with reasons, no problem.
The problem is looking in the mirror and knowing that I think like this. Sure I bite my tongue a lot (that probably surprises my wife but I don’t know how many times what really wants to come out doesn’t come out). It’s seriously embarrassing.
And the thing is, God knows all about it. He knows my ins and outs, my thoughts, my heart, my actions. And then he tells us to come to Him and confess these things to him.
Heck, reading through the Psalms shows that not only does God hear us when we confess these things; He expects us to be totally open with Him in regards to this stuff. You spew this junk out to, well anyone else, and they’d likely be seriously ticked and unfriend you and make you an example in a sermon.
But this is the same God who hears the Psalmists cry against their enemies and lets him weep on his shoulder; he hears our prayers—even the angry ones—then tells us that he offers rest.
Well, this doesn’t justify the hot anger. It might clue me in that I have things that I should be rightly angry about but I have to, by the Spirit of God, work on being angry without the hatred.
Thank God it’s not according to my power; I’d never be rid of this.
In other news, I imagine everyone who reads this will wonder if this has anything to do with them. Ah, well.