The Myth of “Righteous Anger”

Search “righteous anger” on Bible Gateway

Since I know you didn’t actually do that, let me tell you what it says. Nothing shows up.

Those two words don’t appear side by side in the Bible. 

In fact, James 1:20 says quite the opposite

{for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God}

So where did this term come from?

Who came up with the idea of “righteous anger”?

Who decided that as Christians it would be righteous of us to be angry, even if our anger is directed towards sin? 

God doesn’t need our anger or want our anger. He didn’t call us to anger. He called us to love. That’s what Jesus emphasized over and over during His earthly ministry. 

If anyone were going to be angered by sin, it should have been Jesus. He was the one they were sinning against. He was the one who was going to have to bleed and die for it. And He is the only one to ever walk this earth and not be just like them — sinners. And yet there are very few times when the Bible mentions Jesus getting angry or acting in anger. 

Jesus didn’t ignore the injustices all around Him, but rather than letting His actions be fueled by anger, He let them be fueled by compassion and love. 

Love is what God commands in the Great Commandment. Love is what Paul describes as bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring all things (1 Corinthians 13:8). Love is what Jesus showed on the cross to a broken and dying world, devoid of any reason to be loved. Love is what no one deserves, by what Christ calls us to show. 

Anger won’t draw anyone to the Father, but love will

“Jesus will not accept the common distinction between righteous indignation and unjustifiable anger. The disciple must be entirely innocent of anger, because anger is an offence against both God and his neighbour.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

There are surely injustices in this world. There are surely things we must fight against in this world. But rather than convincing ourselves that our anger towards these things is righteous and is what should be going on, why don’t we focus on letting love drive us to do great things. To share hope and comfort with this broken world. And to point every person that we see back to Jesus. 

I’m not here to tell you you’re an awful human for getting angry. I’m here to tell you that unless we do something with that anger, unless we allow Christ to take it from us and replace it with love and passion to do something about the injustice in our world, then it’s meaningless. And worse than that, it’s stealing our joy. 

When you really think about it, why would we want to be angry in the first place? I sure don’t want to be. I don’t like how it makes me feel and I certainly don’t like the person that I am when I’m angry. So, as much as possible, I’m going to choose not to be angry. Even if it seems like I’m in the right, or that my anger may be “righteous”. I don’t want to choose anger anymore, I want to choose love. 

Taryn

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Brokenness Aside

<<I am a sinner if it’s not one thing it’s another, I’m caught up in words, tangled in lies. But You are my Savior and You take brokenness aside and make it beautiful>>
My life is broken. 
I am broken. 
My life is marred my anxiety. By fear. By pride. 
And I’ve let those begin to define me. 
The shards and fragments and rough edges. I’ve begun to feel like I deserve them. Deserve to have to wear them as scars — as strobe lights declaring my faults and failures to the world. 
I wake up and see myself through a shattered mirror. I see myself, but only under the layers of cracks and distortion and fog. 
And you know what?
I’m a broken person. The Bible backs me up on that. I’ve fallen short of God’s marvelous glory (Romans 3:23). But He is the Creator who takes our broken pieces and doesn’t discard them, but instead reshapes and remolds them. Who takes them and somehow makes them beautiful. 
He is the Creator and when I turned to Him and asked for His salvation almost twelve years ago, He took the broken mirror away. He washed me white as snow. He healed my brokenness and started reforming and refining and sanctifying me. Sculpting me to be more like the image of Himself. 
He declares me to be His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10) and all of my brokenness and weakness doesn’t cease to exist, but He does use it for good (Genesis 50:20), and His power is perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) 
My Father loves me so much that He doesn’t want me to keep watching my reflection through broken glass. He wants to turn me around and let me see myself through His eyes. 
Someone worth dying for. 
Someone He wants to use to accomplish His beautiful purposes. 
A child of the King. 

White as Snow

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Y’all! It’s snowing in Texas!!!
Needless to say, I’m giddy like a little kid! It hasn’t actually snowed in Texas in at least two years, and even though it’s just flurries, it put me in a great mood and I’ve decided to shelve the post I had planned for today and write a new one instead:)
The snow is so gorgeous. I love watching fall and then swirl together in piles across the road, it looks so pure and perfect and clean.
And that’s what God makes us to be like as His redeemed sons and daughters.
After David committed adultery with Bathsheba he cried out to the LORD, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)
And later God proclaims through the prophet Isaiah, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow,” (Isaiah 1:18)
That absolutely floods me with joy. Most days, I don’t feel clean or worthy whatsoever. I feel dirty and shameful and dark. But to be compared to this beautiful clean snow, that just reinvigorates my passion and thankfulness for what Jesus did for me on the cross.
I don’t ever want to cease being in awestruck wonder of the amazing God I serve. Of His cleansing, redemptive power and of His marvelous, unconditional love. I hope you all have a wonderful day and that your new year is starting off amazing!!

— Taryn

New Year, New Me

I am 100% a goals and tasks oriented person. 
Todo lists are my lifeline. 

I always set crazy *unrealistic* expectations for myself, and then set about trying to prove to myself and everyone else that I can live up to them. 

This semester is a very good example of that. I took 7 college classes, I worked about 30 hours a week, and amidst that, I still kept looking for new and more ways to prove that I was enough, that I could do it all. I would write myself task lists a mile long and burn myself out trying to finish them. Because I felt like I had something to prove. 

I was wearing myself down mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, to the point that I couldn’t take it anymore. I was leaving myself almost no time to rest, no time for the most important relationships in my life, and no time to be in the presence of my Heavenly Father. 

One day, I sat on my best friend’s bed and completely broke down. I cried and cried telling her how I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be enough. I didn’t have the strength left to please anyone. 

Her answer was matter of fact and to the point, “Taryn, why are you trying to please everyone? They don’t matter. You just have to please God.”

I don’t know why I had over complicated my life to such a degree that I forgot to believe such a simple truth. 

I love the way Paul puts it in Galatians,

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” — Galatians 1:10 (NLT)

All of that to say, I love my goals, but this year, I learned that they can’t be about pleasing anyone else. They have to be about me and my life and honoring God, not about making myself into what I think the people around me need or want. 

The last week of December every year, I think about what I want to change in the new year. I think about what I want the “new me” to be like. Healthier, prettier, smarter, more organized, more productive, more spiritual… once I start the list, it’s almost impossible to stop. 

But the Bible has something to say about what that “new me” is supposed to be and how I achieve it. 

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away and behold, the new has come.” — 2 Corinthians 5:17

That right there is what makes me a new creation. 

Being in Christ. 

And that’s what I want my biggest goal of 2017. To be in Christ. That will penetrate and manifest itself in all the different parts of my life but at its core, it’s so simple and freeing. All that’s expected of me, all that God wants, is for me to be in Him. That’s all that it takes to be a new creation. 

Yes, I have plenty of goals — the number of books I want to read, habits I want to form, but what will truly cause my life to fall into place is the Savior who directs it all in the first place. So the “new me” this year won’t come from an exercise regime, a color-coded planner, but the new me came when Christ redeemed me 11 years ago, and that’s the only new me that really matters. 

I Can Never Do Enough

This world is so, SO broken. 

It’s hitting me hard today. 

I’m around so many hurting people, and although my heart is breaking for them, the reality is that I can do so little to help. And that’s hard. 

I can’t solve their problems, can’t bring back their lost loved ones, and for some reason a smile or picking up their dinner bill just never seems like enough. 

I can’t do enough. I can never do enough. 

God calls us to “look after the orphans and widows in their distresses” (James 1:27), but I don’t have the capability to really help them. 

But wait. 

Who does have that capability and that power?

God does. 

How am I so quick to forget? It’s not my job to heal and save and restore. That’s His job. He has asked me to be a vessel through which He demonstrates His love. God wants me to love through the strength and power He provides, but He is the only One that can truly fix this broken world. 

Everything I do seems meaningless in the grand scheme of things. But every little thing I do can serve a bigger purpose if I use it to point back to Jesus, to show those around me where hope really comes from. 

Hope doesn’t come from me. I can’t offer anyone hope that comes from myself, but I can invite them to experience the hope that I have that can only come from Jesus Christ. 

I want to learn to throw off the mentality of wanting to do it all myself. I want to humble myself and realize how much greater God is and how much more He can do than I could ever dream. I want to let Him do the miracles and be amazed and honored that He allows me to be a small part of them. 

I can never do enough. But He can and already has. And that’s what’s really important. 

How Deep the Father’s Love

How deep the Father’s love for us

How vast beyond all measure

That He should give His only Son

To make a wretch His treasure

Why should I gain from His great loss?

I can not give an answer

But this I know with all my heart

His wounds have paid my ransom


God loves us so well and so abundantly. And He reveals it in the most breathtaking ways. 

If you could know the future, would you want to?

If you could choose to know what the greatest hardship in your life would be, would you want to know now?

If you knew how and when the person you love most was going to die, would you do anything differently?

If you could somehow control whether or not they had to die, but the stakes were very high, what would you choose?

I was in tears this weekend as I considered these mind boggling concepts. How would I handle it as a parent watching my child struggle through a fatal illness? Knowing the doctor’s verdict carried little hope. I don’t know that I could do it, I’m almost sure that I couldn’t. 

But God did.

God did that — and He did it for me. Because He loves me that much!!

That hit me hard this weekend. God sent His Son. His one and only Son. His Son that He loves perfectly. He sent Him to die, to be torchered and mocked and beaten and crucified. How?!? It would have been so much easier, in my opinion, to take it Himself. How could He bear to watch that?!?

Because He loves me. 

I’m not in the least deserving of that love. And yet my LORD offers it freely to me and at the highest of costs to Him. 

In the last moments of Jesus’ suffering on earth, the Father had to turn away. He couldn’t even watch His Son suffer and die because He couldn’t in His holiness look at the sin Jesus was taking on His shoulders. 

That’s how deeply the Father loves us. 

If I could choose to see the future,  I would have to choose not to. I couldn’t handle it. But that is a post for another day. Today, the main point I wanted to make is simply that God did. He loves me more than I could ever comprehend. Through all my rebellion and failures. He loves me so much He sent His Son to die. 

 I never want to lose the gravity of that.

Taryn

“Just Be Held”

“Lift your hands, lift your eyes, in the storm is where you’ll find Me. And where you are, I’ll hold your heart, I’ll hold your heart.”

This song first pierced my heart when I was battling through mono my junior year. I had no strength left to do anything that I wanted to do or thought I was supposed to do. I had to learn to release all the expectations, all the standards, and just be held. To know that His grace was more than sufficient for exactly what I was supposed to do, and He didn’t expect anything more from me than surrender to Him. No perfect grades, No perfect looks, nothing. Just trust.

I told my best friend just last week, “The times when I have felt very closest to God, when I have felt His presence the most have been some of the hardest days of my life. The days when I had nothing left but Him.” This week, God has been reminding me of that lesson that I have to learn time and time again. To fall on Him and nothing else. Sometimes He has to knock me flat on my back to get my attention, and as much as it hurts, it is always worth it. Because afterwards, He always picks me up and lets me just be held for a while.

 

— Taryn

 

We Crown HIM Lord of All

“All hail the power of Jesus’ Name
Let angels prostrate fall
Bring forth the royal diadem
And crown Him Lord of all”

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but our country is in the middle of an election right now.

File:I Voted Sticker.JPG

Voting has started already and will carry on until next Tuesday night when this whole chaotic roller coaster will come to its climactic end.

Regardless of the election results next Tuesday, on January 20th America will inaugurate her 45th president.

Regardless of the election results next Tuesday, I am saddened about the direction in which our country is currently going.

Regardless of the election results next Tuesday, our country is neither going to be spontaneously combusted nor resurrected.

How do I know that?

Because regardless of the election results next Tuesday, the one and only true King is coming back on the clouds to reign victorious, and I am going to root my hope in that for all eternity.

I voted already, and I have a preference on who wins this election, but I am not putting my hope in that person. Maybe we can make American great again by being stronger together.

And maybe not.

“And behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” — Daniel 7:13-14 (ESV)

In Daniel’s prophetic vision, he saw Jesus being given power and dominion and authority over this whole world. It has all been His since the beginning anyway. We may try to give power on warth to fallible people, but no amount of earthly power is significant whatsoever when compared to the vastness and awesomeness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On Januray 20th, 2017, we will “crown” someone in Washington. But Jesus Christ doesn’t need us to crown Him in order to receive His power.

“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior” — Acts 5:31a (NASB)

We have the choice whether or not to vote next Tuesday. And if we do decide to vote, we have four names that we can choose to check the box for. And most of all, we have the choice of whether to crown Jesus Christ as LORD of our hearts.

Inevitably, whether we vote or not, a president will be chosen.

Inevitably, whether we vote or not, the candidate with the highest number of electoral college votes will win the election.

Inevitably, whether we crown Jesus LORD of our hearts, He is already LORD of All.

He is already the LORD of Heaven and earth. He has already proven Himself mighty and victorious over sin, death, and hell. He has already established His rule and reign. But He still leaves it up to us as to whether we are going to accept that. We can choose to make Him LORD of our lives or to ignore His presence and power.

As for me, I chose over eleven years ago to claim Jesus as LORD of my life. I chose to acknowledge the truth that He already is LORD of All. And now, when this crazy election season attempts to pull the rug out from under us, when Satan (or social media) wants to convince us that we have no hope, when things look bleak and hopeless, we don’t have to live under that. Because this world is not our home and although we live in the land of the free here on earth, we are looking forward to Heaven, hoping in our Savior, and secure in Him no matter what this world throws at us.

So yes, go vote, and yes, I’m gonna be up half the night on Tuesday watching election coverage. But no matter what happens, HE already reigns victorious, and that’s more than enough for me.

— Taryn

I Want to be Guilty

The word “guilty” holds a very negative connotation… and generally, I would agree that it is a negative word, and one that you would never want to be described by. But it was only very recently that I began to consider under what circumstances should the verdict of “guilty”  be one that I wear proudly.

If serving You’s against the law of man, if living out my faith in You was banned — then I’d stand right before the jury

If saying, “I believe,” is out of line. If I’m judged because I’m gonna give my life to show the world the love that fills me…

Then I want to be guilty.

These song lyrics are by the Newsboys, and brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard them. They poignantly paint a picture of a Christian standing “guilty” before the jury for their faith. The song reminds me of Christian martyrs in the early church, like Stephen who was stoned for preaching the gospel. It reminds me of missionaries like Nate Saint who were brutally murdered on the mission field… but who does it not remind me of? It doesn’t remind me of me. Of my safe, sheltered life here in the United States. Of my lack of fervor for the gospel. And that breaks my heart.

Why have I let the idea of my life being persecuted become so foreign to me? I have no idea. This should be something that we as Christians expect and are prepared for. Or even more, according to the apostles example in Acts chapter 5, this should be something that we rejoice in!

“The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.” — Acts 5:41

As I have thought and prayed about this over the past few months, an entirely different perspective has come to me regarding persecution, sharing my faith, and how the world views me for doing so. It comes as a sharp awakening and challenge to myself, and it’s not something I want to downplay anymore.

Honestly, I am not persecuted in any way shape or form for living the Christian life that I live. I go to church without having to hide it, I can speak the name of Jesus without being stoned, and yet I still back away from boldly declaring my faith for petty reasons such as it being uncomfortable, or that I am scared to offend anyone. I haven’t the slightest thing holding me back from sharing Jesus’ name constantly, there are no laws threatening my safety or life for doing so, and yet I can’t remember the last time I actually did just that. I can’t remember the last time I shared the gospel of hope to someone who needed to hear it.

American Christians can talk all day long about being “persecuted” even though we aren’t. But here is what scares me the most.. if a law were to be enacted that punished Christians for sharing their faith, would I be punished? If persecution were real in this country, would I be experiencing it? In all truthfulness, I would have to say no. Sure, if someone asks me if I am a Christian, I will answer yes. But do I go out and make disciples? Do I initiate conversations about my Savior? Not really. And I don’t want to be okay with that anymore.

“You will be hated by everyone on account of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.” — Matthew 10:22

I want to be included in that. I want to be hated by this world and if this world starts calling people guilty for their faith, then I want to be one of those on whom the verdict hangs. I don’t want to hide from persecution, I want to embrace it proudly, because that means that this world knows who I’m living and dying for.

“I want to be guilty by association, guilty of being a voice proclaiming Your ways, Your truth, Your life, I’ll pay the price to be Your light. Oh, I want to be guilty.”

Take a second and think about the ways “guilty” can carry a positive connotation and light. The disciples in Acts 5 sure thought that it did! I want to be like them. Fearlessly and joyfully living, suffering, and dying for my Savior, because He lived, suffered, and died for me.

I Love to Tell the Story

“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” — 1 Corinthians 1:18

The gospel — or good news — is the story of Jesus. The power of God to those who believe. In the words of one of my favorite childhood hymns…

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory

Of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story, for some have never heard

The message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word.

I can’t help but have a smile on my face when I sing these words, but are they true of me? Do I really love to tell the story of my Savior? Or far too often am I ashamed of it, or neglect to really tell it? Do I really spread “the message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word”?

I believe that many Christians, myself included, have fallen into the trap of centering the “gospel” around ourselves, not Jesus. Of telling our story, not His. 

It’s easier, more comfortable, most of the time to talk about our own lives than to boldly proclaim His story. But which one has the power to save?

I could tell people about my life all day long. But no matter how great my life is, or how much God has been working in my life, that story will never save them. Only the power of God will save them. Only the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Only the story of His taking our place on the cross. Only the story of God making a way for us to be in a right relationship with Him again. 

That story is powerful. That story gives me chills. So why am I afraid to tell it?

I don’t know. 

I make some pretty lame excuses every day of my life. I worry that people won’t listen or will think I am strange. It’s easier to convince myself that I’m doing all I need to do by talking about myself and bringing up Jesus name once in a while. 

But that can’t cut it anymore. 

I want to tell Jesus’ story. The story that saved me and transformed my life. The message that government officials claimed had “upset the world” (Acts 17:6) when the disciples shared it in the first century. The story that has lasted thousands of years and never stopped being faithful. 

What is the story of Jesus? 

He loved us so much, even though we rejected Him, that He wanted to make a way for our sins to be forgotten, for us to live in a perfect relationship with Him again. But since we are far from perfect, and our sin requires death to atone for it, He took that death for us. God’s own Son in the human form of Jesus came down to this earth, lived here as a man and never sinned. He was despised by His own people and they ultimately put Him to death in a gruesome and horrible way. He gave Himself over to them and died completely innocent. But He didn’t stay dead long. Three days later, He rose victoriously from the dead. Proving that He has ultimate power over death. And with that power, He chooses to rescue us from the inevitable death we all deserve. We only have to ask Him to do so. To believe that He alone has the power to save us. To save us from death. To save us from a life marred by sin. To save us from separation from our loving Father. 

As Paul told his jailer who asked how to be saved,

“Believe in the LORD Jesus and you will be saved.” — Acts 16:31

And as he writes in a letter to the Romans…

“Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” — Romans 10:13

That’s good news!! That’s powerful. That’s the gospel. And that’s the story I want to tell from now on. The story that has the power to change hearts and lives. I want to fall in love with telling that story,  Jesus’ story.