I couldn’t believe the comments that people posted!
My friends at churchleaders.com recently reposted an article from my blog. They’ve done this a few times. I’m happy to allow them access to anything they believe is helpful. What I wasn’t ready for was the comments that ensued. Wow! I’m glad I have thick skin!
If I remember correctly, I was called a heretic. I believe one person questioned my salvation and even suggested I prayed to Satan. It was suggested that I was ruining God’s church. That was flattering, because I didn’t realize I had that much influence! I engaged with some of the responders, but I quickly realized the futility of open conversation with angry Christians.
The blog comments were a reminder of a fact I hate so much: Christians are a pretty mean bunch. Not all of them, but a lot of them. Sadly, I can understand their anger, because I’m a recovering angry Christian myself. Look inside most church services and you’ll see them – Christians sitting in rows with a fake smile on their face. Ready with a “I’m doing just great, how about you” answer for everyone who asks.
Their life is a mess, but they can’t be honest. They are struggling in their marriage, but nobody can know. They are frustrated in their job, but that must remain a family secret.
Side note: This is why adult church sports leagues are so much worse than any other league. It’s all the pent-up anger that is finally released on the umpire and the opposing team. I’ve seen some of the absolute worst behavior on the church softball fields. Yelling, cheating, name-calling, and even fighting. I think a few church basketball teams decided to comment on my post!
So why are Christians so angry?
I’m sure the list is quite long, but here’s a few things I’ve had to release in my life. The first two are pretty basic, but the last one needs it’s own post one day.
Expectations are the birthing ground for frustrations. Living a life full of expectations will lead anyone to be angry. Mostly because people will consistently underperform against your standard. My expectations almost ended my marriage seven years in. And others expectations of me have kept me from experiencing God in me. If you want to release some anger and replace it with peace, drop your expectations.
2. Maintaining an Image.
Again, similar to expectations, maintaining an image is exhausting and unChristian. If you are hiding behind an issue in your life, be honest, be open, and seek help. If there is something in your heart that resists being transparent, pay attention to that tension. Keeping up an image wears you down, and in your exhaustion, anger and frustration are your only outcomes.
3. Tension with Grey.
This one is a biggie! I believe it is the number one reason Christians seem so angry. It splits churches. It can split families. And it can keep us majoring in the minors.
Here is the realty – within the Christian faith, there are only a few absolutes. Don’t post hateful comments just yet – hear me out. For some reason, we have made it our Christian duty to debate, argue, and bicker about every little nuance in Scripture. But in reality, interpretation by definition means there will be disagreements. People are going to see things differently. And, take a deep breath … that’s okay. I doubt any seminary or systematic theology professor would agree with me, because, well, it’s their job.
Outside of monotheism, Jesus as God in a bod, and Jesus’ death and resurrection, there isn’t much black and white. God is mysterious. Creation is mysterious. I can’t explain dinosaurs, and I don’t mind. It’s in the grey where Christians get so upset. When you believe there is a right and wrong doctrine or theology for EVERY issue, you are bound to end up angry and in many, many arguments. But when you learn to embrace the tension of uncertainty, life becomes more full.
One last thought (for now). The only good news here is no outsider will ever see the silly, internal bickering that occurred on my post. Non-believers probably don’t surf through churchleaders.com very often. Unfortunately, the absolutely terrible news is that as Christians, we have allowed our disagreements and bickering to be very public, political, and even targeted at the very people we are trying to reach. How insane is that? It’s too bad John isn’t around today to remind us of what he wrote in the first century:
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
– John 13:34-35
Are you a recovering angry Christian? Did you write a hateful comment on my post (just kidding)? I’d love to know your thoughts. Why are Christians so angry? Let me know, and feel free to share this post so we can all learn together.