Last Thursday night a political rally was held at a local assembly hall which meant a large crowd of people would be in the road. This created a problem for me since we have prayer meeting on Thursdays. I would have to drive through the crowd and drop off church members at their homes, and then through it again on the way back home.
The way out of Barrouallie was not difficult since police officers helped direct traffic to higher road that bypassed the crowd. The way back would be difficult though since I need to drive through the crowd itself.
It actually wasn’t the crowd itself that bothered me, but what the crowd was doing
Vincentians like to celebrate. This means the crowd will be filled with people drinking, and dancing in the most sexual way possible. This open display of their sin-nature brings sadness, as well as some frustration.
I did eventually get through the crowd, but not until after a young lady (whom I’m pretty sure is drunk) walked up to my car and began to dance against the front of it (facing the crowd). Turning to those near me I shouted loud enough to be heard “get her off my car.” People immediately pulled her away from the vehicle, but I was still incredibly angry about what had happened.
My anger wasn’t directed only at her, but a culture and worldview that finds happiness in getting yourself drunk and grinding on other peoples vehicles. A way of life that revolves around parties, and doing whatever it can to cover up the sadness in your heart.
There is a place for righteous anger in the Christian life. It would be wrong for me not to have any problem with a drunk young lady dancing against my vehicle. But that anger is not an end in itself. Instead my anger over this sinful way of life must deepen my burden for the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Righteous anger by itself will just breed a bitter heart that over times views myself as “better” than other people. Like the prodigal sons older brother I would look down on “the son of yours (not his brother) who wasted his life with harlots.”
So how do we move from righteous anger to a burden?
By looking at my own rebellion
In our hearts we are all rebels against the will of God. Its true that some display their sinful actions more blatantly and could receive a greater judgement, but in the eyes of God we are all sinners apart from Christ.
The interesting thing about righteous anger is that it blazes when we see others in deep sin, but it seems to overlook our own sins. So the Biblical response to this would be to say, “yes that young lady dancing against my car is indeed sinful, but so is my refusal to obey God.” The hatred for those dancing drunk in the road should match the hatred for my own lack of self-discipline.
There will probably never come a day when a crowd of drunk Vincentians doesn’t break my heart, and thats okay, as long as my own sin breaks my heart as well.