CURRENT AFFAIRS  



Praying Through the Outrage


By KJM





See the companion piece
"Abortion is Messy" by MeLissa LeFleur


Planned Parenthood. Cecil the lion. Homosexual marriage. Donald Trump. The Supreme Court. It's been a summer of outrage for most religious and political camps in America, and we still have the increased focus on the Presidential races to look forward to. For conservative Christians, the Planned Parenthood stories have been top of mind in the past month, and created a special level of outrage. As I've watched the anger develop, I've wondered where all this rage will lead — and especially where it really ought to lead.

While the beliefs at hand and issues at stake this summer have certainly been worthy of strong emotional response, I think they deserve something more. They deserve what Jesus showed and taught over and over again in the gospels: gentleness and prayer. These two work together beautifully in the Christian life, and they are especially appropriate when we are outraged.

Jesus spent much of his time undoing the teachings of the Pharisees, and expressed his anger at them in a number of ways, from rebuking them in a parable (Luke 10:29-37) to crashing their temple economy (Matthew 21:12). In response to their lives of works and shaming those who did not do as they did, Jesus taught the opposite. He taught about a loving God who responds to the smallest amount of faith (Matthew 17:20), provides for the needs of his children (Luke 11:11-13), and refuses to be limited by the bloodlines or works of a person to provide them with living water (John 4:7-29). And he taught about prayer. Jesus prayed to a God who is concerned with everything about us, encapsulated in the Lord's Prayer (Luke 11:2-4). He frequently went off by himself to pray, and prayed the High Priestly prayer for each and every one of us (John 17).

Jesus had plenty of reasons to be outraged by what he saw on earth, but his response was not simple rage. His response was a gentle, prayerful one that, instead of requiring restraint or stuffing his emotions, was born out of his character, the character of a king who humbly rode a donkey's colt and washed his friends' feet. He felt angry, yes, but his actions were to go to his Father.
Despite our reasons for outrage, we must not stop at anger; we must follow Jesus' example and go to the Father.tweet
Today, the news media literally feeds on our outrage. It requires us to become angry, and certainly there will always be plenty to be angry about. But we must not allow ourselves to stop at anger. We must move into the action displayed to us by Jesus and be the gentle voice calling out to a Father who says, "keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you" (Luke 11:9, NLT).



Image Credits, Clockwise:
Vince O'Sullivan; "Cecil Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe"; Creative Commons
iprimages; "DonaldTrump"; Creative Commons
Jlhopgood; "Newborn"; Creative Commons
David; "US Supreme Court"; Creative Commons



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Published 8-3-15