I am struggling with anger, and with guilt for the anger that I feel. Oh, the anger is well founded. I don’t think my anger is off base, unchristian, or unfounded. I have been lied to, lied on, falsely accused, and misrepresented. I’ve been discredited, shamed and humiliated, falsely accused by saints and then the pastor, and informed that I cannot even speak in my own defense because doing so questions his authority. I have seen backbiting, bitterness, variance, envying, strife, contention, gossip, and lying promoted in the name of religion. And I have seen true religion negated due to these promotions. Pure religion and undefiled is this… to visit the fatherless and widows… and to keep himself unspotted from the world…
My anger is as justified as Jesus’ when he drove out the money changers in the temple. No, I’m not being haughty or proud. I am not justifying bitterness, nor am I thinking more highly of myself than I ought. I am simply stating the facts. Jesus got angry, he even made a whip and drove out the money changers, yet He was without sin. To lay sin at my feet for saying the attitudes directly spoken against in the Bible should not be ignored in the church is neither reasonable nor biblical.
I have been told multiple times that I should forgive and forget things that should not be forgotten and which the offender never repented of. According to the unspoken rules of the church, if I tell the pastor he has offended me, I will be “reproved and rebuked” and told that I have a bitter, unforgiving spirit. Further, if I call and ask to go back to church, I will be dealt with harshly for leaving. I will be expected to attend four services a week and will have little or no privacy. I will not be able to use the internet for anything but work purposes. And I will only be sitting on a pew waiting to be called out for some new false report or supposed infraction anyway.
So I’m angry. Not sinfully angry, but angry in a way that has prompted change and research on my part. Anger that has made me re-look and rethink several teachings of the conservative Oneness movement. Anger that has made me realize that I’d prefer to go to a church where the women wear pants and they sing the doxology than to sit in a church where brothers and sisters distrust each other, where people are judged more than they are loved and accepted, and where there are some big names and also many no names.
I’m angry. I have a right and a need to be angry. When my anger shows through in my writing, it is not because I’m a horrible backslid reprobate. It is because there are terrible wrongs taking place under God’s name, and good people are being hurt as a result. There is no greater hypocrisy, no worse way to take God’s name in vain than to do these things “in His name” and then attempt to silence those who have been so misused.