Questioning the Church about Anger

If a church rejects or rebukes people who are angry, is the church acting from a place of love or fear?  Is such a church angry about people who are angry?

Is it godly to tell angry, hurting and broken people to go to a lonely place or a secular place to get their soul wounds healed before the church can accept such people into their midst?

Did not Jesus come for the brokenhearted and the wounded?  Did Jesus not come to bind up the wounds and set the captives free?  Is the church behaving like His Bride and Helpmate when she rejects and neglects the brokenhearted, imprisoned and wounded? 

Where is the church that can handle the angry people?  Where is the church that welcomes the dissatisfied, the dissidents, the detractors, the disenchanted and the disillusioned as David did?  Where is the church that embraces the unlovely and transforms them, disciples them into mighty fighting warriors for the Kingdom as David did with those dissatisfied dissidents and rebels who came to him when he was in the cave at Adullam (see 1 Samuel 22 for more details)?

Where is the church that knows that Paul was once Saul?  Where is the church with a love so reckless and fearless and heavenly violent that it can bravely and boldly answer the Lord’s call to go to Saul and remove the scales from his eyes?  Where is the church so courageous that it can be sons and daughters of encouragement (like Barnabas, whose name means son of encouragement) to those seeking the Lord from a place of anger, legalism and intensely passionate and fierce devotion (like Saul on his journey to becoming Paul)?

Why is the church afraid of angry people when one of the angriest and most murderous men that we know wrote most of the New Testament?  What does the church have to fear from such people whom the Lord can touch and use to advance the Kingdom farther than any lukewarm convert ever could? 

How often is church reformation and revival birthed from people who are angry with the status quo and stagnant flow of the existing church?  How often is anger the catalyst for change and revitalization in the church? 

How often is the anger that comes against the church used to lift her up and exalt her higher than she could ever go on her own (Stephen’s martyrdom, John the Baptist’s beheading, Jesus’ crucifixion and on and on – the testimonies traverse the centuries)?

Why then isn’t the church persistently pursuing the angry people within and without her walls?

What does the church, who is grounded in the love of God, have to fear from anyone who is angry with her?  Is it not the Lord who saves?  Is it not the Lord who delivers us from all of our enemies?  Is it not the Lord who redeems?  Is the battle not the Lord’s?  Is the arm of the Lord too short to reach even the angriest of people? 

Did not the Lord convert Saul and transform him into Paul?  Does the church still fear Saul?  Does the church not revere and gain endless inspiration and revelation from Paul’s passionate and loving letters to her?  Did not the one who relentlessly attacked the church become one of her greatest lovers, protectors, teachers, providers and pursuers?  Did not Saul’s murderous passion become the fiercest of loving passions in Paul?  How is it that the church is so quick to forget and so hasty to negate the apostle Paul’s powerful testimony of conversion?  Is such a testimony not life and light, bread and wine, faith and fire to the Bride of Christ?

What does the church have to fear from anyone who is angry with her?

To hear more of my thoughts on anger and anger haters, check out my new poetry reading on my Spoken page - For the Love of Anger Haters. (Clink the link below to go check it out.)

Working Well Under Pressure - Assessment

What does it mean to “work well under pressure?”

Does it mean letting people take advantage of me?  Does it mean refusing to set boundaries with anyone?  Does it mean saying, “Yes!” to everyone regardless of my capacity and availability to meet their request?  Does it mean ignoring or refusing to admit my own limitations?  Does it mean sacrificing my health and well-being in order to please other people by meeting their demands? 

This topic of “working well under pressure” came up in conversation recently.  It gave me pause to think about what the phrase means to me.  After giving it some thought, processing my perspectives and doing a little research, I’ve come to the conclusion that my definition of this phrase means assessing the following questions in light of any request or demand someone presents to me:

Pressure Response Assessment

1.     Is it the Lord’s will for me to meet this request for this person at this time?

2.     Is this person’s request reasonable?

3.     Do I have the capacity to meet their request?

4.     Am I available – do I have the time in my schedule – to meet their request?

5.     Does their request have value or serve a purpose that I value? 

6.     Does their request violate my beliefs and values?

7.     Am I the appropriate person to meet their request?

8.     Is it good for me to meet their request?

Considering each of these questions and answering honestly to myself will give me a clearer perspective on how to respond to the person’s request.  If I don’t take the time to consider these things, then I may be hurting myself, the person who made the request or someone that I love.  For example, if I don’t have the time, then I may be over-extending myself which could result in physical and mental stress leading to illness as well as strains on my other relationships. 

If I don’t set boundaries with others,

then I’m hurting myself and the ones i love.

Every time I make a decision, I am saying yes to one thing and no to everything else.  So even if I have trouble saying no to people, when I tell someone yes, I’m still saying no to everyone and everything else.  This means people-pleasers, and everyone else for that matter, say no far more often than they say yes.  And at some point, this boundaryless behavior will catch up to the people-pleaser and cost him more than he wants to pay.

It is a sign of emotional maturity and psychological health to be aware of our own limitations and weaknesses, to set healthy boundaries with others, and to prioritize our health and well-being.

It is loving to know who we are, to know our limitations, to know our strengths and our weaknesses and to delight in our humanity.  In a godly context, working well under pressure means placing our burdens at Jesus’ feet and only taking up His burden and His yoke, which is different for each of us based on how He created us. 

It’s part of the joy of being saved to include the Lord in deciding how we will respond to the requests and demands that other people try to place on us.  We get to be in relationship with a perfect God who knows our hearts, the hearts of others and the future.  We get to make these decisions with Him and rely on His wisdom and knowledge to lead and guide us.

Our first priority is to love God.  Our second priority is to love ourselves as God loves us.  Our third priority is to love others as we love ourselves.  We cannot honestly love others unless we first receive God’s love for us and learn to love ourselves like He loves us. 

Our first priority is to love God.

We are not loving God, ourselves or others if we are boundaryless.  People-pleasing is not love.  Boundarylessness is not love.  Codependency is not love.  Over-achieving, over-responsibility, and over-performing are not love.  These things are all grounded in fear, not love.  All of these things are about earning, manipulating and controlling acceptance and love, which is no love at all. 

There is no freedom found in manipulating and controlling people.  There is no honor in it.  Of course, there’s also no honest risk-taking or vulnerability, either.  Both of which are scary, unpredictable and have no guaranteed outcome.  To love is to risk – exposure, vulnerability, the outcome, rejection.  But it is the only way to truly give and receive love because it honors the other person’s free will choice to respond however they want to my invitation, my vulnerability, my willingness to take a risk on them.  An honest response to love is so worth taking the risk!

An honest response to love is worth taking the risk!