In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom talks about “murderous rage.” The immense consuming anger she felt toward the Germans who imprisoned and tortured her and those she loved and who eventually killed her sister and father.
Sadly, I also experience murderous rage. My deep and violent anger isn’t directed at Nazi’s, but toward Christians.
If random people verbally attack me or my family or if I see something on the internet blaspheming Christians, I don’t usually have murderous rage. I may get upset, but I can understand and legitimize hurtful words more easily if I think people aren’t Christians.
However, when people say they love Christ and faithfully attend God-loving, Bible-believing churches where grace and truth are taught, when they act or speak in a way that doesn’t seem even remotely “Christian,” when they attack my family, then the gloves come off.
Murderous rage can rise up in me like a tsunami. My ears, head and stomach feel like they’re on fire, I literally shake and want to strike something or someone. Once the physical manifestation of my anger subsides I try to pray, but it’s hard to pray for someone you not only abhor, but whose behavior you can’t understand or explain because they should know better.
I’ve prayed about my murderous rage. I know it’s wrong. I know it’s irrational. I know it isn’t what Christ would do. But sometimes I can’t seem to un-feel justified anger.
A few weeks ago, one of my Christian mentors told me she had been upset with a Christian for acting unchristian (she didn’t know I was praying about the same problem). But God revealed over time to her that other Christ-followers are authenticallywhere they are. They’re genuinely, to the best of their ability, with the time they have and what they know and are learning – loving and following God. Just like I didn’t know Christ five years ago like I do now, every Christian is at a different place in their faith journey. We’re authentically where we are.
Has this allowed me to stop desiring to strangle Christians who should know better? Have I been able to pray blessings upon those who say and do unkind and intentionally hurtful things to those I love?
But it’s helped.
When the Spirit reminds me Christians are “authentically where they are,” I pause. When I pause I remember I sometimes act wholly unchristian when I know better. I remember thoughtless, insensitive things I’ve done and still do. When I remember we’re all authentically where we are, I can minimally whisper a half-hearted prayer asking God to help me love instead of hate. When I pause the wave of murderous rage inside me doesn’t get so big, overwhelm me as long and doesn’t leave the carnage it has in the past.
When I pause, I see God giving me an opportunity to replace my murderous rage with humility and gratitude for His grace that finds me I authentically where I am…every day.