Friday, July 22, 2016

Anger Without Sin

Note: I will still post more of my thoughts, reflections, and struggles regarding abortion (See "A 'Floating' Controversy: Parts 1, 2, and 3") in days ahead, but I wanted to share this today. Thanks so much to those of you who have taken the time to talk with me, or email me, or comment with your prayerful thoughts about abortion and how we are to address it. You have blessed me. I am truly shaped, by God, through Godly friends, in so many ways.

Well, I did it. In my anger and frustration I posted something sarcastic on Facebook, and later took it down . . . though at the time I posted it I even felt in my spirit a caution (which I ignored). Basically it was a meme (or whatever they are called) that was a reference to Ted Cruz's convention speech the night before, and the boos and hate that came when he didn't endorse Trump. It said, "Dear Trump Voters . . . Here is the most critical question of all for those who didn't like Ted's speech. When he asked people to vote for a candidate who shares your values and would defend the Constitution, why didn't you think he was talking about your candidate?"

I know about "the pledge" Ted took. I know he refused to endorse Trump. I know all that. This isn't about Ted. This is about my frustration and the biting sarcasm God has really helped me come free of all coming together in a perfect storm and causing me to sin and have to relearn a lesson.

As a background I am so tired of the biggest reason anyone can give me to vote for Trump being that it is a vote against Hillary and to save our Supreme Court. These are powerful reasons, I get it, but what does it say when the strongest arguments "for" a person are the arguments against their opponent? I am sick of a nation more concerned about allegiance and blind loyalty to a political party—even one that no longer reflects them—then to God (one of the reasons I went from the Republican party to no party affiliation toward the end of the primaries). I am tired of being made to feel like if I don't vote for a man like Trump I am voting to destroy a nation I put my life on the line to defend. I am so tired of people who I know love God (even some candidates I used to respect) singing Trump's praises simply to beat Hillary, knowing that, despite a few token "God" references thrown out, he is proud, a self-proclaimed lover of money, rude, arrogant, seemingly unrepentant, if what I have heard about his book is true then a boaster in sexual exploits, and his financial success is in part tied into an industry that preys on people at their most desperate and lost place (gambling and the associated lives, entertainment, and industries around it) . . . to mention a few things.

God opposes the proud! God! God does! I am supposed to vote for a candidate who God is going to oppose? My doing that is going to "save" America and make it great again? Really? If we ever thought our greatness came from anything other than God's blessing and favor then we are more ignorant than I thought.

More and more I am seeing how this world is not my home. It doesn't reflect me or my values. I am an alien and stranger in it. My citizenship is in Heaven. I am seeing things called "okay" that I never thought I'd have to prepare my daughters to deal with in a mainstream society. But, I shouldn't have been surprised. I guess that is what verses like this are talking about:

2 Timothy 3:1-5   But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

2 Timothy 4:3-4   For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Isaiah 5:20-21   Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!
I guess, if I'm honest, I want to be able to "win" in this world and I should have never expected to be able to. I want to be able to vote for a candidate I believe in and who I feel like God will bless, and not feel like I am betraying my country (and even my daughters' future, if Hillary gets to pick the Supreme Court). I can't win. And so I guess I have to choose—trust (and fear) God more than man and vote for who I believe He will bless, or vote my "wisdom" and hope God comes behind my choice.

But here is the crux of this post, and the real reason for it. I have many friends, who I love, who are probably voting for Trump—and my falling to sarcasm in my anger and hurt and frustration was not love toward them, or toward anyone who feels they are doing the right thing. These are people who I do believe love God and treasure this nation, and I let my hurt cause me to be sarcastic and biting toward them.

Cutting sarcasm is something I struggled with in my early Christian days. Before Christianity I loved to debate. I loved a chance to verbally dissect someone without having to use profanity or things like that (an ignorant way out, I felt). Oratory was something I studied for fun. A hero was Winston Churchill who supposedly told the lady who said that if he was her husband she'd poison his tea, that if he were her wife he would drink it. I took pride in that zinger that left somebody floored. And I was good at it. After I came to Christ I really had to reign that in. To be OK not getting in the last word. To let someone get me with a zinger and to hold back the one I had for a reply—one I knew would knock out their verbal knees from under them.

At first I reigned it in with sheer will, but gradually God has helped me to where it isn't even a first thought anymore. I don't want to "zap" people. I want to love them and show them Christ. I don't have to get in the last word or line. It is OK to just love and take it. Just like Jesus did.

But yesterday, seeing all the hate coming towards Ted for failing to endorse Trump, and the blind party loyalty we are "demanded" of just to "stop Hilary," and feeling trapped in a no win situation, I saw someone's meme and thought it biting and, lashing out, I shared it. And in doing so I let my anger cause me to sin. To be unloving to people I care about. To go the way of the world and not love. Scary, isn't it, how close that "old stuff" still often is in our new creations?

I don't believe loving means compromising on truth. But God says in Ephesians 4:26, "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger." I have found—unfortunately too many times—that I can be as well-intentioned and even scripturally "right" as can be, but if I am not acting in love it is worthless because God is love, and He won't bless or be a part of that which isn't.


  1. All great posts recently, Erik! The question the Eternal has been dealing with me lately on: "Do you trust me?" Republican, Democrat, non-affiliated. Trump or Clinton. None of that matters in the end, and your approach is exactly right. We must focus on doing what God tells us, and not on the world no matter how good the intentions of its citizens. I, too, feel less like I belong here every day. But the day is coming. Hang in there, my friend. He lives!

    1. Thanks, Jon. I think God is refining His children and circumstances are causing us to realize in our hearts what before maybe we knew in our heads, but hadn't fully realized in our hearts. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I really value the friendship we've developed online and I so hope we can meet and share in person one day. God bless you and yours.

    2. Definitely my wish as well, brother Erick! Take care and best wishes to your beautiful family.

  2. I appreciate this post so much, your gift of putting thoughts into readable sense is a blessing! We camped out with family this weekend and I was struggling trying to make many of the same points, but when I read your post it was exactly what I was trying to say! I forwarded it on:) Thanks for your boldness Erick.

    1. Thanks, Baley, so much for sharing this with me. You, as a blogger, know that sometimes you wonder if anyone is reading or touched. I am so blessed that it blessed you, and may the thoughts I shared help others process this hard time. God bless you and the family and the future ahead.


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