I have been a Christian now for 50 years and I still can’t get over the fact that so many fellow believers in the West appear to be so angry.
|Dan Wooding on the Cover of Guideposts when he wrote of his anger towards other Christians|
We read the words of Jesus in John 13:35 (New King James Version), who said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
But where is the love in these times? Almost daily, I receive hateful e-mails that are forwarded to me attacking other Christians, the President, and a plethora of other things. Most are Urban Legends that have not been checked, but they still get sent.
A cottage industry has sprung up on the Internet of individuals and groups that spend most of their time in an attack mode. I call it the “Wild, Wild West of the Blogosphere.”
And even if you tune into some of the Christian radio stations here in America — fortunately only a few — you will often hear talk-show hosts venting on all kinds of topics that they suppose are threatening believers, rather than building up the flock with a message of love and joy.
I often have to remind my friends here in the United States that they live in a wonderful country that has more freedom than any other place on earth and if they were to visit countries like Saudi Arabia or North Korea, they would soon learn to appreciate and value what we have here instead of complaining so much.
So come on, fellow colleagues, let’s have less anger and a lot more joy.
I am not sure what non-Christians make of all this rage that is being spread far and wide by people who claim name the name of Christ.
I have to admit that in my early days as a believer, I too, was guilty of great anger. I remember when my first book was about to be published, a group of Christian businessmen and pastors in Birmingham, England, threatened to sue me for something I wrote in the book. Fortunately, the publisher stood by me and they withdrew their unscriptural threat against a fellow Christian.
|Staff at the Christian|
Then, back in the late sixties, after a year of working for The Christian, Billy Graham’s British newspaper, the whole staff was fired and we were all put out on the streets. We got two weeks’ wages in severance and I had a wife and two sons to support.
If that wasn’t enough, a Christian musician asked me to write his life story and then, after six months of hard work, he decided he didn’t want the book published and refused to pay me a penny for my work. (I later wrote to him and apologized for my bad feelings towards him. He accepted my apology, but still didn’t pay me.)
There were many more bad incidents that are too numerous to recount here, that were done to me by so-called believers who caused me so much anguish that I eventually lost my faith and went after some of their via the large circulation newspaper I worked for at the time and caused them great pain.
But then it all changed when, in a drunken stupor in the Stab-in-the-Back pub just off Fleet Street in London, I was led back to a faith in Christ by a wonderful Irish-Canadian called Ray Barnett, who then asked me to work with him on a book called “Uganda Holocaust”, which was to be about the courageous Christians who survived Idi Amin’s reign of terror during which some 300,000 of their fellow believers were murdered.
|Dan Wooding and Ray Barnett with soldiers in
Uganda while they were researching their book
While in Uganda, I met some of the most loving Christians I have ever met and not one of them showed any anger towards Amin for what he did. In fact, they told me they were praying that he would find Christ.
When I got back to England, I contacted many of those people that I felt had done me wrong and apologized to them. I even wrote up this story for Guideposts magazine and it was used as their cover story (see above picture).
As soon as I did this, the anger went away and I realized that it had been harming me far more than the people I had directed my anger at.
I soon began a campaign to help persecuted Christians around the world, none of who showed any anger about their situation, but instead felt it was an honor to serve the Lord through their suffering. They don’t waste their precious time attacking others, but spend it instead sharing their faith, even though it could cost them their very lives. What a difference for much of what passes for Christianity in the Western Church.
I have been deeply affected with what Jesus told his disciples; that other people would know that they were His disciples because of their love for one another (John 13:35). He was telling them about the main characteristic of a true Christian and I knew that I had been using the perceived faults of others as an excuse for my bad behavior.
So I am hoping that those of you who read this will also examine yourself and your anger and stop this constant barrage of hate messages via e-mail and on the many web sites. I know from first-hand experience, that this kind of behavior eats away at your faith, joy, and spiritual walk.
The Apostle Paul, writing in Galatians 5:22-23 (New King James Version) said, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Why not give it a try before you go to bed tonight? Apologize to those who you believe have harmed you. Let go of your anger towards them, and then you too, will begin to experience what the Apostle Paul was talking about.
You have nothing to lose – but your anger.