About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Righteously Disturbed



I recently wrote an article suggesting that certain things should disturb us as Christians.  I believe many of us aren't disturbed because we fail to share Jesus' feelings on these things.  We don't share His feelings because we don't understand the Bible sufficiently enough to know how He feels.


The thing that disturbed Jesus most while on earth was  the behaviour of God's people, and the hypocrisy of their leaders.  Israel failed to share God's heart on many issues. This irritated Jesus, causing Him to call the Jewish leaders some nasty names.  With everyone else, He was kind and gentle, but still forthright about sin. 


There is nothing wrong with being "righteously disturbed" over certain issues.   It's how we express these feelings that is important.  I mention this because now in the autumn  of 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States is hearing a case that addresses this very issue.  A small church in Kansas feels "righteously disturbed" over gays in the military.  Hiding behind the first amendment, the members of this church protest outside the funerals of fallen soldiers.  While parents mourn the loss of their sons and daughters in the funeral home, Christians who should know better stand outside, calling the mourners fags and other nasty names. 


I guess these people are trying to be like Jesus by calling people nasty names.  I feel "righteously disturbed" over this expression of being "righteously disturbed". The one thing these people don't understand is that the only people Jesus called nasty names were the religious leaders of His day.  He actually cried along with the mourners at Lazarus' funeral, even though He knew He'd raise Lazarus from the dead. (John 11:35)  


The apostle Paul told us to do our best to live in peace with everyone. (Romans 14:19)  He also said servants of the Lord must be kind and gentle. (1 Timothy 3:2, Timothy 2:24)  Like Jesus, Paul was "righteously disturbed" at times with the religious elite,  but with everyone else, he was gentle and kind.  Calling mourning parents nasty names isn't a kind or gentle  way to express your feelings of being "righteously disturbed" about an issue.   


If you read the book of Acts you will see that Paul didn't live in peace with everyone.  He did have enemies, but it wasn't because of any bad behaviour on his part.  He had enemies for one reason only, and that was because of the message he preached.  It was certainly not because of  the way he preached the message. 


God gets "righteously disturbed", and so should we.  We need to express these feelings in a redeeming manner.  There is nothing redeeming about calling people nasty names outside a funeral home.  There are appropriate times and places to confront the sinner with his sin.  That being said, the most important sin to confront is unbelief, or rejection of Jesus.  All other sins are secondary to unbelief.  A thief who stops stealing is still a sinner.  He only becomes a saint when he stops rejecting Jesus.  Sometimes we get the cart before the horse.    


Directing one's "righteous anger" over certain issues must come from a heart full of love.  The reason why a father gets angry with his son who steps out of line is because he loves his son.  If he didn't love his son, he would not be so angry.  The same is true with our heavenly Father.  Just before Jesus was killed, He sat on the Mount of Olives, gazed down at Jerusalem, and wept bitterly over the city and the people He loved.  The same Jewish leaders He called nasty names, were the leaders He cried for, and even died for.


It's important to understand that God's anger presupposes the existence of His love.  I wonder if these church people in Kansas love those they call fags.  I suggest they do what the apostle Paul tells them to do.  Go into the funeral home and weep with those who weep.  (Romans 12:15)  That's what Jesus did, and that's what we should do. (John 11:35) 


Sin should disturb us, and we should confront sin in  proper Biblical fashion.  The reason why we confront sin in people is because we love them and want the best for them.  Any other motivation for expressing our "righteous anger" isn't acceptable.  It reflects poorly on us and Jesus.  If you want to be like Jesus and overturn a few tables, find tables belonging to religious hypocrites, because it was their tables Jesus knocked over.  The tables belonging to sinners are better left as they are so you can eat and drink with them.  That's what Jesus did.  Of course, if you follow Jesus' example in respect to this, you might be called a drunkard as He was. (Luke 7:34)


In conclusion, don't call ordinary sinners nasty names.  If you feel inclined towards name calling, call a religious hypocrite a nasty name, and then go and weep for his soul.  Sit down and eat and drink with the ordinary sinner. You might be called nasty names in the process by some religious types, but it's better you being called nasty names than you calling others nasty names.    


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