Culture is a petri dish growing distrust and anger. People who seem too good to be true are scrutinized like cells on a slide under a microscope. They lash out at the person, clawing at them, and when they bleed they look for the lies and scandal they expected and have seen in others. Not seeing it, they continue their abuse, almost hoping to find it. They rationalize this behavior while speaking love and peace.
Someone they believed in betrayed their fragile trust. People come from broken homes. They talk from a wound. Our culture has slowly inched away from the traditional family, scowled at anything remotely “Norman Rockwell,” and television and newspapers continue to feed their belief that everyone is hiding something. No one is good or lovely. Darkness clouds their vision, even those claiming to know Christ.
What can we do about it?
A Christian can speak light and truth until the sun sets, but the person to whom they are preaching won’t hear it unless the Holy Spirit is in them. It’s so much easier sometimes to believe the worst in someone. If we believe the best and that person does not live up to our expectations, our heart breaks. Most people would prefer physical pain or impairment to having someone break their heart. Instead, people search for the worst, sometimes aggressively, because of the unlikely event that the person they are trying so hard to hate is simply another illusion; a hypocrite preaching truth and living a lie.
Sheila Walsh says in her book The Heartache No One Sees that we need to pray for the person we hate or are angry at even if that means gritting our teeth or frequently biting our lower lip. I have many scars on my lower lip from praying for someone I don’t like. She also says eventually we will pray for them with all sincerity.
And I did!
A woman wrote somewhere (can’t remember the source) about how her husband wasn’t living up to her expectations. Their marriage suffered. Eventually, she read something that changed her thinking. The Holy Spirit opened her eyes that she needed to pray to accept her husband’s way of doing things. Over a long period, she began to change and because she truly began loving her husband just the way he was, he also began to change.
I need to realize that only God can change hearts and I need to forgive more and hold grudges less.
I’m not a part of this angry culture, but I’m not immune to it. I’m a recovering gossip, too. It used to be that I contributed to family conversations when they would talk behind the back of an absent family member. As I grew in Christ, I realized how wrong this was and how unfair especially when the family member returned and everyone acted as if they loved that person. It was as if the sentiment so angrily expressed was never spoken. It’s important and necessary to forgive a family member for a decision you don’t agree with, even if there is no relationship anymore. Anger rots the soul. It destroys life. I wonder if that’s why Jesus said angry thoughts are akin to murder in the New Testament.
We can’t go one day without His grace in our life. We can’t go one day without giving grace.
Culture’s petri dish of anger and hate should not grow in our life. We should work on growing a life in grace and truth. It’s not a popular sentiment. But then, we shouldn’t resemble the world with our actions or thoughts. We should work as a family in Christ together to pray for a culture bent on death and destruction. We should view each person, believer or non believer, liar, murderer, thief, immoral, or apathetic as a valuable life and never wish anyone death or illness no matter how much we disagree with them.
Are you holding a grudge? Is it changing your life for the worst? Is it bringing out the worst in you?