Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I'm not angry. I'm mad!
I'll begin this post by explaining the title of this post. I'm a writer, so bear with my detailed way of doing that. :-)
Many of us over age 35 grew up on the "Cosby Show." We loved watching this sitcom every Thursday evening, grateful for the positive image of an African American couple that loved each other and trained their children well.
On one episode (which I'll have to relay from memory), Cliff Huxtable (played by Bill Cosby) corrects one of the kids for saying he was "mad." He goes on to say, "Dogs get mad. People get angry." The children then go on to list fictitious accounts of activities they've partaken in, like sneaking out of the house to go to a party across town. After each story, the kids ask their father and mother (Clair, played by Phylicia Rashad), "So Mom and Dad, are you angry?" Each time their parents state they aren't angry, but they would get serious about the offender's punishment.
At the end of the scene, their teenage daughter Denise relays a "true" story of a night that she supposedly spent with a girlfriend. She then confesses to having spent the night with a boy instead. At the end of her tale, which ends up being completely false, Denise asks Claire, "So Mom and Dad, are you angry?"
Claire, in her no-nonsense manner, states, "Oh no, I'm not angry. I'm mad."
So now you know the inspiration for the title of this post. Sometimes the word angry doesn't fully communicate the intensity of our emotions. Sometimes, we're just plain mad.
Today I read an article about finding your life's passions. While reading, a light bulb lit up in my head. The article didn't mention this, but passions in life are often birthed out of something we're good and mad about. And I don't mean the kind of mad we feel when someone cuts you off in traffic. Or when someone -- usually one of your children -- eats the leftovers that your mouth was watering for. Or when the neighbor's dog barks incessantly at 6:30 on a Saturday morning. (Okay, so can you tell what makes me mad?)
No, I'm thinking of those things that the Bible calls righteous indignation. I'm envisioning anger over multitudes of people without healthcare, or housing or money to purchase three square meals each day. Or anger over political corruption. Or anger over people around the world that die of preventable and treatable diseases like malaria. That's the kind of anger I'm talking about.
Most of you know one issue I'm mad about. I'm mad about the 150 million orphans around the world that have no parents to tuck them in at night. The millions of children that have no permanent home. The millions of children that would give anything to have the food my children picked over last night and threw away. My stomach churns just writing that.
And I'm also mad at how slowly the church is getting this thing right. I'm mad that there are churches all over the country that don't have a single adoptive family. I'm mad after perusing the website yesterday for "The Justice Conference," being held in February in Portland, Oregon. While intrigued by the amazing list of speakers that will speak for justice, aiding the poor and standing up for the forgotten, I couldn't find a single speaker devoted to defending the 150 million orphans around the world. Not one.
So, if you follow what I'm mad about, you can quickly identify one of my passions. So, now I ask you: what are you mad about? What makes you downright furious? Is it that there are people groups in the world that have yet to be reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is it the worldliness of our culture in this reality television-crazed generation? Ponder it for a while. I guarantee your anger will lead to a personal passion.
Now... What are you going to do about it? Will you keep it to yourself? Or will you go out and do something? We all have a responsibility to pursue our passions, especially the passions that meet a need for someone else. And if you can't come up with anything, ask God to give you a passion. Ask Him to make you mad about something. I bet He can hardly wait for you to ask.
If all God's children got really mad about all kinds of injustices, who knows what we can do? We might even change the world.
I'll leave you with a song by worship artist Israel Houghton, "The Power of One." One person is never too little to make a change. Together we can change the world!
Living for Justice and Mercy,