Day 8: Are You An Angry Christian?
Between October 28 and November 6, Grace Church proudly presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast! If you haven’t purchased your tickets, there may still be some available. The show centers around transformation through grace, forgiveness and love. Over the next 10 days, Be Our Guest and check out our daily devotionals centered around these themes and the production! Check back every day for the latest devotional!
BY SUE ROSECRANS, GRACE ATTENDER
I can’t think of a more appropriate question in this day of severe polarization. (No, that doesn’t mean we slip on polar bear suits and take a quick dip in a freezing lake) Today, the word opposite means that you are wrong and that I am right. Today, we don’t have a dialogue we have a fight. Today it has gotten so bad we question someone’s faith because of their political opinions. We have become an angry mob. The mob never makes the right choices. The mob never looks out for the least of these. The mob stumbles over others. The mob doesn’t think, consider or pray. Are Christians today in danger of becoming an angry mob?
We seem to hate what we don’t understand turning whoever is on the outside of our tribe into a monster. I find it ironic that the villagers catch sight of the beast in a magic mirror prior to the Gaston whipping them into an angry mob. I wonder what Gaston would have seen if he had looked at his image in the magic mirror a beast perhaps. Belle has it right, “He’s not the monster, Gaston! You are!”
Gaston lies about the beast he’s never even met, then creates a fear snowballing into hatred for a creature the villagers have also never even met. Fangs. Razor sharp Fangs. Massive killer claws. Living in a haunted castle. Foaming at the mouth. “We don’t like what we don’t understand in fact, it scares us.” How true this is for our day. We don’t understand so we don’t like. We are afraid then finally we begin to hate. The mob sets up a matter of life and death. “Kill the Beast! Kill the Beast!” Finally, if we all believe the same thing we all must be right. “And fifty Frenchmen can’t be wrong!” Now the angry mob hunts the monster they invented. If together, we whirl around without any understanding when someone tells us what we fear has actually come true, then we churn with feelings. We are becoming the “angry mob.”
Adding to the brokenness of the whole situation is the beast’s desire to be forgiven. “An object of revulsion and derision hatred is there no one? Who can show me how to win the world’s forgiveness?” How many folks in the middle of a fight really only desire to be forgiven? What is our role in all the divisions, name calling and fighting? Belle’s words challenge us. “For now I realize that good can come from bad that may not make me wise, but oh how it makes me glad…in my dark despair. I slowly understood my perfect world put there had disappeared for good and in its place, a truer life begins and it’s so good and real it must come from within.”
We must stop judging others. We can’t know someone else’s journey. We can’t know someone else’s heart, ideas, and priorities. We do know what we want and we want our way sooner than later. We attempt to make our ideal life. Our perfect world doesn’t exist. The truer life begins and ends at Jesus' feet. Himself, the original judge, chose not to judge others. God robed in humanity walked humbly and tenderly with the ordinary folks. He was draped in compassion and cloaked in kindness. He enfolded all who came to Him in His Father’s love. He could have demanded His way, but He did not. He could have shouted, bringing down all His enemies, but He didn’t. He could have created a storm to wipe out all those working against Him, He did not. He could have called a thousand fierce angelic soldiers to His side in an instant crushing anything in His path, but He didn’t. He spent time with those others were feared and He spent time with those others looked down upon. He ate with, danced with and talked with those who were called the others, the untouchables, the despicables rejected by society and religion. He stood up for the rights of the poor, the forgotten and the least. He announced His affection for all those left behind from the top of the mountains, when the leaders of His day puffed up with a false sense of importance attacked Him and falsely accused Him-silence. He didn’t find the value in defending himself God’s only son to men with inflated egos and hardened hearts. He literally turned the other cheek.
Returning to the castle and our show love changed everything in the castle. Love changes our world too. Sometimes love has to take a stand. Sometimes love is silent. Love changes our story and love changes the story. When we are tempted to hurt, turn away. When we are tempted to fear, choose to listen. When we are tempted to boil over, put on love. Today is crying out for a different kind of love a supernatural, others-first, meek yet powerful love found only at the feet of Jesus. Grace and mercy are needed so much more than our overrated opinions and ideas. Gentle and kind words are the soothing salve needed to begin the healing our world so desperately needs. Choose to understand what others fear. Choose to protect what others throw away. Choose to look beyond the faults remembering we all fall short failing often. Choose to stand up for those who have no voice. Choose grace, mercy, gentleness, kindness, and above all else choose love. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love makes a family of us all. Love changes everything and everyone.
What makes you angry? What do you do when you are angry?
Are there ways you can redirect your anger by using your words?
How do you feel when someone is angry with you?
Can you find a Bible story that reveals how God wants you to respond when you experience frustrating or hard situations? Share your story and what you learned with a member of the cast.
“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” Matthew 5:21-22 (MSG)
“Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” Ephesians 4:26-27 (MSG)
“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:10-11 (MSG)
“Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.” 1Timothy 2:8-10 (MSG)