August 31

Be angry and sin not

My Christian faith compels me to process events through the eyes of Jesus. As I am blasted by the neverending news reporting of the civil unrest taking place in the United States, I am crushed with sadness. Everyone has a position, and many positions are hostile and confrontational; “Kill the pigs!,” “He was a criminal,” “we need Law and Order!”

As I think of what is recorded in the Bible about Jesus’ life, I am reminded that he taught love, gentleness, grace and mercy. He regularly spent time with the outcasts of society, those crippled, maimed, adulterers. The only times he showed anger were in his judgment of the religious leaders who were using the Law of Moses as an excuse to be harsh, dispassionate and as a money grab.

What if we applied Jesus’ teachings to our everyday life? What if we spoke with kindness rather than condemnation? What if we truly tried to see people’s lives through a filter of grace? What if we learned to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you?”

As rage, distrust and violence has swirled around me, Ephesians 4:26 has come to my mind often, “Be angry and sin not.” We should be angry when injustice happens. Instead of responding in kind, we need to respond with love and compassion, and seek justice and peace. 

If enough of us apply Jesus’ teachings, we will be able to attain what is said in Isaiah 2:4, “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” That is my deepest wish.

Be angry and sin not

Say his name
sketch his likeness
tell all the world
how much you miss him.

Not everyone accepts
acts of destruction
as cries of anguish
craving to be heard.

I seek to understand,
to enter in to your pain,
to offer a safe place
for you to lament.

I am bruised
from all the anger.
Voices of all colors
loudly talking
and not listening.

I implore you!
Let us beat swords
into plowshares,
together sow fields of peace,
and rejoice in the harvest.