The older I get the more upset I become at all of the injustice taking place in our world. Racial discrimination, sexual harassment, school shootings, religious persecution, abortion, and so much more seems to happen more now, than ever.
As Christians, we must be firm in our pro-life values, from womb to tomb. So how should we respond when the smallest among us are perishing in astounding numbers?
First, it is okay to be righteously angry. In our fallen and broken world, people sin, and injustice happens. However, in our anger we must not sin. Ephesians 4:26-27 are well-known verses: “’In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
That is an explicit command not to sin in our anger. What does sinning in our anger look like?
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, so that it may benefit all who listen.”
When we, as believers, are called to speak in a way that does not shy away from the truth, but also in a way that encourages, or builds up others, for their benefit and the benefit of all who hear.
This means sharing the hope of Christ kindly (Ephesians 4:31) so that our words give hope to everyone and do not tarnish our witness. Therefore, avoid ranting social media posts, insensitive memes, and rude bumper stickers.
If championing a cause, a good and noble cause, leads to acting in a way that ruins your Christian testimony then it is time to consider humility.
When I become angry at the injustice of the world, I have to remind myself that I could have just as easily been in the shoes of the person who offends me. If not by the grace of God I could have done the horrible and heinous acts that I despise. It is only because of Christ that I have any desire to pursue holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24, says:
22 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Every Christian has a former way of life, and an old self, that we must continuously put off as we pursue a renewed mind that seeks to be like God in righteousness and holiness. Not one of us is perfect and just because I have not had an abortion, does not give me a right to demean and cut down those who have. I have no right to speak or act cruelly to anyone because of their sin.
This also applies to our own brothers and sisters in Christ (Ephesians 4:25).
Finally, we must remember that God is loving, forgiving, and compassionate toward us in our sin. Therefore, we should also be loving, forgiving, and compassionate toward others in their sin.
Remember the story about the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11)? The Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery before Jesus and in front of the crowd. They informed Jesus (as if He didn’t already know) that the law condemns adultery and she should be stoned.
Instead of answering them, Jesus got down and wrote in the dirt with his finger. The Pharisees continued to demand an answer, so Jesus said, “‘All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!’” (John 8:7). Then he started writing in the dirt again.
R.C. Sproul in his book Does God Control Everything? speculates that Jesus was writing the secret sins of the Pharisees:
“Perhaps he wrote ‘adultery,’ and one of the men who was unfaithful to his wife read it and crept away. Perhaps he wrote ‘tax evasion,’ and one of the Pharisees who had failed to render under Caesar decided to head for home.”
While Sproul is speculating, every one of the accusers of the woman left, one by one, until only Jesus and the woman remained.
John 8:10-11 reads:
10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Was the woman guilty of adultery? Yes. Is adultery sin? Yes. Does Jesus hate adultery? Yes. In John 8:1-11 we see Jesus’ compassionate response. If anyone has a right to condemn someone over their sin, its Jesus. He kindly points out to us, that neither you nor I have any right to condemn someone else since, we too, are sinners. In our gratefulness, that we are not condemned, we should be compassionate to others, encouraging one another not to sin.
When I was young, I found out that I had two older siblings. My mother had been sexually active as a teenager, and at seventeen years old, she had given birth to my half-sister. My mother’s boyfriend, at the time, my half-sister’s father, left. My mom began dating another young man and became engaged to him. Then one day, while at work, she received a phone call that she needed to go to the hospital. At the hospital, my mother discovered that her fiancé had sexually assaulted and shaken to death her one-year-old daughter. At the time of my half-sister’s death, my mother was pregnant, with her now ex-fiancé’s child. In her grief, she had an abortion, and I lost my half-brother. I cannot begin to explain her grief or mine.
I say all of this because instead of righteous anger, perhaps we should first grieve with our fellow image-bearers over the loss of life. My mother is one of the strongest believers I know, I greatly admire and respect her. Her sin does not anger me, it grieves me, it humbles me, and it gives me compassion to all of those who have had an abortion.
One of my favorite verses is Micah 6:8 which says, “Now, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Phoebe Cates has interned with the ERLC Nashville office. She is from the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati Metro area. She graduated in Spring 2020 with a degree in public relations and journalism from Northern Kentucky University. Her goals include attending law school in Fall 2020 and pursuing a career in public service.