I drove into my friend’s driveway. A terrible storm had ripped through her yard, uprooting a large oak tree and laying the roots on their side. Siding from surrounding buildings, glass, trash was strewn all over the yard.
Now, this friend keeps her yard meticulous. She could be a top interior and exterior designer.
As I stepped out of the car, I saw her bent over, wiping sweat from her brow, as she thrust the next handful of trash into the almost full bag. Her face – tight. Her eyes – weary. She had lost someone she loved dearly a few weeks prior. I knew she was at the end of herself in many ways. My heart ached with her.
I smiled and waved hello, right as an elderly woman marched across the street and stood belligerent with her hands on her hips in front of my friend who had slowly reached down yet again to put trash into the bag.
The woman began ranting at my friend, accusing her of never keeping her yard up to the community standards, of being a slob. I saw my friend’s face grow red with embarrassment as she bowed her head.
In defense, I stepped in-between the neighbor and my friend, shielding her from further attack. I looked straight into the old woman’s condemning eyes as she glared back.
“Either you get off this property, or I call the police.” I calmly, but firmly said.
She started to rail at me.
I held my ground. “You are on private property. You don’t have the right to be here. Get out.” I continued to speak, as I pulled my phone from my pocket and began dialing 911. I was so mad, beyond mad.
Then, I woke up. It had all been a dream. And I’ve been wrestling this out with the Lord every since.
Even as I’m writing this out, I see it from so many angles, and I’m asking God to search my heart and show me my own stuff that needs to be dealt with.
In our world right now, there are so many injustices being done. So many people I love hurting who have lost loved ones, who have destructive storms that have ripped through their lives. I’ve had a few of my own.
And I’m angry. I didn’t realize how much.
I’m angry seeing evil in our governmental and religious systems hurting people, allowing people to be massacred, forcing people into doing things they don’t believe are right for them or their families.
I’m also angry and grieving for others with family members on vents, suffering, partly because of what appears to be a failed health care system, partly because of a bad virus. Yet, also seeing their choices villianized and accusations flying against them for their choices.
I’m angry watching a religious system many times eating their own – “spirit cannibalism” as Heidi Baker once called it. Like the woman in the dream, coming to curse her neighbor who is hurting, instead reaching out a helping hand in her time of suffering. Why are we so quick to condemn, judge and jury our neighbors, or maybe someone we have never even met?
On a very personal level, I’m mamma bear angry because someone dear to me is considering walking away from their faith because they never felt they could measure up to the religious yard stick.
I cried out to God this morning, because if I’m honest, I’m really angry about a lot of things. And growing up in an abusive home, being angry was not allowed. I suffered if I showed anger, badly.
So, I stuffed it. I learned to stuff it very well. I learned to live life looking good on the outside, yet falling apart with anger, helplessness, powerlessness, fear, terror, on the inside.
And now in the middle of this chaotic world of a mess, Jesus is looking at me the way that undoes my heart, and is telling me it’s OK to be angry at evil.
It’s right to be angry at the nasty neighbor who is tearing apart my friend’s heart, much like the storm did her yard. It’s right to stand my ground and demand her leave, because she is trespassing. He is actually angry too, and wants me to stand up for my friend’s rights. He doesn’t want me to put up with the bully.
Can I say here I know who the real bully is – the enemy? “We don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces, and darkness of the age.” Eph. 6:12 Yet, when a person has yielded to that darkness, it may mean I need to stand up to them too. I may need to say, “That’s not allowed. You are trespassing and you must get off.”
When good withdraws, evil will rush in.
Did I even realize that I could love and be angry at the same time? Be angry and sin not. Eph. 4:26 Don’t allow that anger to turn into cursing or condemning. Don’t allow it to pull me off the course of love, and yet it was right to feel it.
I saw Jesus hand me a punching bag this morning in the spirit. “Here, let it all out here, and now sit down with me, and let’s talk.” Does God do that? Apparently.
I’m not in a place of listing all the scriptures of times God got angry in the Bible and still was love, but I’d encourage you to maybe do that. I know for certain Jesus got angry with the religious leaders and others a lot and yet still it was out of love, even to the point of making a whip and driving our moneychangers from the temple. Yet, to those who were hurting, sick, in need and knew it, He was gentle, kind, loving, their healer and deliverer.
What does it look like for us to allow ourselves that emotion and still love others well?
I think this will be a topic I need to walk out with the Lord for a while, as I ‘m pretty sure we are meant to defend the defenseless, stand up for righteousness and justice, set people free. There may be some emotions of anger at evil and the effects of it, as I walk that out. I’m pretty sure God is OK with that.
In my messy conversation with Him, I heard this in my heart. Weigh it for yourself, but I believe it was the Lord speaking this to me.
I understand the struggle with in you, but let love win.
I understand the anger, the hatred even of sin, and it’s right to be angry, but don’t let it lead to sin in your own heart. Let love win.
I understand the anger you feel at the religious system. I have been angry with it too, the religious/business system that uses people and then spits them out when they don’t hit the mark. I abhor that system. It has nothing to do with love, life, or freedom, which is why it is failing. You have every right to be angry.
I understand your anger of a government that just abandoned thousands of people and left their own weapons for them to be used against them to murder my kids. I’m angry too.
I’m angry when any of my children are persecuted, held against their will, raped, manipulated, controlled, mouths taped up, body parts torn apart and then sold, children trafficked for sexual pleasure. Daughter, all of humanity’s evils are before my eyes and I see it all as one. And yes, I get livid – any loving Father would.
Love gets angry, but it doesn’t lose its way or get off track in that anger.
Don’t be overcome by evil. Overcome evil with good.
The thing is I also have my son’s sacrifice before me, and His sacrifice was enough to cover all of those sins, those evils. It doesn’t dismiss them, like they don’t happen, but it makes a way for those who receive what He has done to become my children and to be truly free from that system.
Sweetheart, love overcomes evil. Not anger. Love does. Patience does. Kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, truth, joy, goodness, self-control. Nothing is a more powerful offensive weapon than the power of love. That’s why I said love your enemies. Do good to those who persecute you.
It doesn’t mean that you’ll never be angry, nor that I want you to be silent. I need you to speak truth in love. I need the whistleblowers. I need those who will stand up for justice, righteousness, and not be swayed in that.
But even in the middle of the standing up, to do so in love, to do so with kindness. If you give into the spirit of offense, then you will become like the offender. That’s not who you are.
Be angry, but don’t let that anger keep you from loving people right in the middle of it. Speak out, but when you do, point them to me.
Forgive people when they don’t deserve it, because they don’t know what they are doing. They don’t know they are puppets in a different master’s hands. Release their ultimate judgment to me.
Fight the good fight against the real enemy, the spiritual strongholds in the heavenly realms. And yet, sometimes that means holding people accountable to the just consequences of their behavior.
Let love win. In you. In the way you love others. In the way you love me.
It’s right to grieve the effects of evil in this world. Blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted.
I love you. Let live win.