Should we avoid political engagement?


Should Christians pull back from politics? Given the growing polarization and divisive tone of politics, I understand why Christians might want to distance themselves from the whole project. It seems that no matter how graciously we engage, we risk being misunderstood as taking sides with a “Radical Right” or a “Radical Left.”

It’s not surprising to hear the old fundamentalist line, “Just preach the gospel.” I feel for those who want to avoid what appears to be a sure way to create misunderstanding or to get people mad at you.

But is this fear itself wrongly motivated? Is backing out of political engagement a responsible option for obedient Christians? Is it possibly contradiction of our identity as salt to the earth and light to the world? 

This was the topic of a recent post by Russell Moore. I like the way he summarized evangelical engagement on pro-life concerns as a model for other areas of engagement.

“What I’m calling for in our approach to political engagement is what we’re already doing in one area: the pro-life movement. Evangelicals in the abortion debate have demonstrated convictional kindness in a holistic ethic of caring both for vulnerable unborn children and for the women who are damaged by abortion. The pro-life movement has engaged in a multi-pronged strategy that addresses, simultaneously, the need for laws to outlaw abortion, care for women in crisis pregnancies, adoption and foster care for children who need families, ministry to women (and men) who’ve been scarred by abortion, cultivating a culture that persuades others about why we ought to value human life, and the proclamation of the gospel to those whose consciences bear the guilt of abortion.”

“That’s the reason the pro-life movement continues to resonate, with growing numbers, among young Christians. It’s very clearly not a singularly ‘political’ issue, but an issue that demands political, ecclesial, and cultural reform and persuasion.”

Being maligned or falsely charged should not lead Christians to retreat but be viewed (in principle) as an opportunity in the vein of I Peter 3:14-17; 4:19 –

“… if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threat; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. ….So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.”

Moore does a good job outlining the nature of the calling for engagement, 

“We engage politically because we love our neighbors, we care about human flourishing. But we do so at multiple fronts. We engage on Capitol Hill (as I do), on issues ranging from stopping the abortion industry, to protecting religious liberty, to speaking out for human rights for the persecuted overseas. We cultivate churches that see the holistic nature of the kingdom of God and who shape consciences of people to live as citizens. But we always do that with a focus that we are not prosecuting attorneys but defense attorneys. We are seeking, ultimately, to point people to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

A false argument

Some leaders use a false argument disguised as a biblical case against political engagement. They ask, “Where do you see Jesus or the apostles getting involved in politics?”

Not only is this an argument from apparent silence, it overlooks the fact that those who lived during the periods of history represented in the Bible were not part of democratic forms of government. We are simply not living in the same political situation as Jesus or the apostles. This is part of what makes our function a little more complicated. We are part of a participatory system where we have opportunity to influence the formation of laws and policies for the common good. 

It’s careless and misleading to use this kind of argument from apparent silence to negate a calling to responsible citizenship.  

So as we pursue a common good with others and each one brings his or her beliefs, morals and values to the discussion, robust and respectful debate is often necessary. We must not shy from engagement or allow others to marginalize our voice.

Yet we should not approach engagement as an effort to win culture wars. Such language (and the demeanor that often accompanies it) is not fitting to responsible Christian participation in a representative form of democracy. But neither should we become passive when called to engage.

Let’s be as informed as possible and speak the truth with boldness while being considerate and kind toward opponents.

At the end of the day (or process), some of the laws might conflict with our beliefs, morals and values. If those laws try to force us to violate our beliefs, we will find far more explicit application from Scripture on how to respond.

Steve Cornell

Pope is wrong about the Church

In a recent interview, the Pope appeared to be offering some kind of olive branch in his comments about gay marriage, abortion and birth control.

The New York Times picked up on his message with a piece titled, “Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control.

I think I understand the Pontiff’s concerns about the dangers of becoming so focused on one or two issues that we lose sight of other pressing matters. But I also believe that his words were unfortunate, unnecessary and perhaps even misguided.

Let me explain.

On one level, the Pope played into the hands of a deceitful effort to paint the Church as overly preoccupied with things like abortion and homosexuality.  Yet remember that the Church has largely responded to the obsessive preoccupation of liberal media with promoting abortion rights and gay marriage.  

The Church is most often responding to the demands of liberal politics that the public conforms to only one view on these subjects. The Church is responding to a radical agenda on the left that uses the puppets of mainstream media to promote an ideology that they reinforce with deceptive polls.

We must not fall for efforts to promote a false image of Christians as obsessed with abortion and gays. We must not be blindly manipulated into misguided self-criticism.

Attorney David French summarized the issue well, writing that, “The criticism is so common that it’s often internalized and adopted by the church itself. Similar to our reaction to another leftist refrain (“Christians care about children until they’re born”), we act as if the critique is legitimate — as if it’s the result of some kind of empirical, good-faith analysis of Christian action in America. But it’s not. It is, pure and simple, a talking point. And it’s false. Demonstrably false.”

French argued that, “American Christians, in fact, are ‘obsessed’ with helping the poorest and weakest members of our society.”

“While the full scope and sweep of all Christian charitable activity (both in donations and volunteer time) would require book-length treatment, we can at least begin to isolate one critical factor: money. Our obsessions are reflected in our expenditures. Where do Christians put their charitable dollars? What is their charitable obsession?”

“We can find part of the answer by looking at the budgets of the largest and most influential Christian organizations. A website called Guidestar publishes the tax filings of most charitable organizations, so register (it’s free) and take a tour of Form 990s. First, you’ll notice that Christians do give lots of money to what I’d call “pure” culture war organizations, but not as much as the Left.”

A larger concern

On another level, given the gravity of abortion, why should we apologize for being obsessed with protecting unborn life? The occupant of a mother’s womb is a human life with the potential of becoming a mature human being. It’s a verifiable fact that abortion does not merely terminate a pregnancy; it terminates the life of a baby.

If you have children, look closely at them and remind yourself that had you chosen to abort any of them at any point from conception to birth, you would have ended the life of your child. 

More than 90 percent of induced abortions are performed for non-medical reasons. The large majority of surgical abortions are performed during the 7th through 10th week of pregnancy. By this time, a baby’s heartbeat, arms, legs and fingers are identifiable.

The thought of a mother’s womb becoming a baby’s death chamber is unconscionable. Perhaps our apology should be to the millions of babies whose lives should have mattered more to us.

But, here too, we must not forget that Christians are the majority (by far) on the front lines — leading the way by caring for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of young women facing unplanned pregnancies. 

Steve Cornell

The anatomy of normal sadness

I have counseled many people who feel stuck in sadness. They feel like they cannot escape the dark cloud that looms over their minds.

Life is hard when you feel stuck in a flight pattern you can’t escape. Many of those who battle depression have given up hope of ever living a life of joy and contentment.

But the battle these folks face is compounded by a sense of guilt because they often feel they should be stronger and better able to deal with things. And there is always a well-intentioned person ready to remind them of how many people face worse circumstances.

Until rather recently those facing this kind of challenge did not have reliable medicinal solutions to help them get to a better place. Things are much different now.

Medicines for depression and anxiety are now the most prescribed drugs by family medical practitioners. I know people who have been greatly helped by some of these medicines. Yet the number of people requesting medication for depression has rightly alarmed some sociologists.

Without doubting or discouraging those who genuinely need and benefit from medicinal aids, we should ask some important questions about the significant increase in diagnoses of depression and quick prescription of medications.

Treatment of depression in outpatient services increased 300% by the end of the 20th century. Antidepressant medications have become the largest selling prescription drugs in America. During the 1990s, spending increased 600% exceeding 7 billion dollars annually by the year 2000. Estimates now indicate that major depression afflicts 10-12% of Americans. A disconcerting by-product has been an inability to distinguish biologically based depression from normal sadness.

One of the more important questions being raised is whether or not we have room in our lives for normal sadness. Do we now live in cultures that entertain unrealistic expectations for gregariousness? These are questions explored in the helpful book, “The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sadness Into Depressive Disorder,” by Alan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakelfield.

The authors suggest that a standard criteria for diagnosing depressive disorder does not adequately distinguish intense normal sadness from biologically disordered sadness. Their aim is to offer a critique of what they view as the “over-expansive psychiatric definitions of disorder.”

They offer extensive insight for distinguishing “sadness due to internal dysfunction” from “sadness that is a biologically designed response to external events.” The chapters exploring the anatomy of normal sadness and the failure of social sciences to distinguish this kind of sadness from depressive disorder should be required reading for all medical and psychiatric professionals — as well as all counselors.

But along with the work of these sociologists, one should consider the emotional aspect of depression in a spiritual context. Humans were created as physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual beings. Although doctors are primarily charged with caring for physical health, they should be advocates for holistic treatment. I realize that they face both time and professional constraints but medicinal aid must never be approached one-dimensionally.

We are more than bodies with physical needs. The other dimensions of our being (emotional, psychological, social and spiritual) must be given consideration in our battle for health. A holistic approach respects all the dimensions of personhood created by God.

I encourage doctors to be cautious about prescribing medicines for moods or behaviors without confidence that those receiving them are pursuing some form of counseling in a support system of caring people (see: Caring for the whole person).

For further help addressing the emotional and spiritual dimensions, see the following links:

Steve Cornell

What does responsible citizenship look like?

It’s not easy to find well-balanced (accessible) statements on the role of Christians in government, especially of the representative form in the USA. Part of the problem is that we simply have no explicit parallels in Scripture to believers living in democracy. 

What does responsible citizenship look like for Christians when they are part of “We the people….”?

This morning, I read a very helpful article that looked at this question from the perspective of civil disobedience. Written by Mark Coppenger, (professor of Christian apologetics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), the article answers the question, “When should Christians engage in civil disobedience?

I appreciated how Coppenger summarized Christian engagement: 

“As we make our case for liberty, we need to show our logic, expose the illogicality of our foes, link arms with co-belligerents, exhibit dignity in the face of indignities, and make it very clear that there are limits to our flexibility.”

Following this prescription will require humble and mature wisdom. One of our aims is to help people understand the very wise words of David B. Hart: 

“We are free not merely because we can choose, but only when we choose well. For to choose poorly, through folly or malice, in a way that thwarts our nature and distorts our proper form, is to enslave ourselves to the transitory, the irrational, the purposeless, the (to be precise) subhuman” (David B. Hart).

The words of Alexis de Tocqueville are equally compelling:

“The very dynamism of modern democracy has contributed to profound short-term thinking that devolved into forms of self-serving individualism. Increasingly unable to discern how our liberated actions impacted others—neither recognizing our debts to the past nor our obligations to the future—we see ourselves as wholly free agents shorn of history or future.” (Alexis de Tocqueville)

Steve Cornell 

For other helpful discussions on this topic: We Dare Not Defend Our Rights and Should Christians Really be Standing up for their Rights? 

When I was made in the secret place


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  (Psalm 139:13-16) 

Psalm 139  offers a reassuring statement of God’s sovereignty over life. The Psalm unfolds in a way centered on God’s character and activity.

1. God is all-knowing  (omniscience) 1-6

      •   God’s knowledge covers one’s posture, thoughts ways and words
      •   God’s knowledge is expressed with a series of verbs: God searches, knows, perceives, discerns and is familiar with…

2. God is all-present  (omnipresent) 7-12

      •   God’s presence is so pervasive that there are no escape routes or hiding places

3. God is all-powerful  (omnipotent) 13-18

      • God not only knows and is present, He’s the Creator.
      • The development of the embryo in the womb is ascribed to God
      • This is not Mother Nature mysteriously at work.

Think about it:

One of the reasons this psalm has endeared itself to our hearts is that it presents — God as one who is near and intimately knowledgeable of our lives.

He is presented as the author of life – as the one who fashions life in the womb and ordains the number of days planned for us.

  • This resonates with us because it tags into a deeper innate sense that we are here by design and not by accident.
  • This connects with a deeper sense that we come from a personal Creator not an impersonal process of evolution tracing back to some chance collision of the forces of undirected energy.
  • Here is a Psalm that offers an all-knowing, all-present and all-powerful Creator!
  • Our moral impulse as humans cries out for a source of morality.
  • Our desire for purpose and meaning cries out for a point of reference and a destiny.
  • Our affections themselves (loves and passions) demand deeper connections than some impersonal primordial ooze.
  • Here is a God who is intimate, involved, tender and inescapable!
  • Here is knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain!
  • “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!”

But all of these truths invoke a sense of concern, leading the psalmist to cry out: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me”

The truths in this psalm do not exist in empty theory. They must be understood in the complexities of life in a fallen world — a world where a good bit looks like it is contrary to God’s providence and will.

We study this psalm not in theory but in a world where the name of God is not honored, His Kingdom has not yet come and His will is not being done on earth as it is in heaven!

In such a world, some babies don’t make it out of the womb; some are at risk of what we call imperfections – appearing not to have been fashioned by a perfect loving Creator.

In this world, some of the days ordained for me are painfully difficult days — many of them. How does this all-knowing, all-present and all-powerful Creator relate to a broken world full of sadness and evil?

There is a reason why we must end such a psalm with “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me”

After contemplating God’s detailed knowledge of his life, the psalmist broke into:

  • A burst of praise: (6) “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” (cf. Romans 11:33 – “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”)
  • A word of trust in God’s care:  (9-10) “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (cf. Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.)
  • An expression of endearment: (17-18) “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! 
How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.”
  • A prayer of invitation: (23-24) “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Connecting themes together:
  • Psalm 139:13  “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
  • Jeremiah 1:5God’s word to Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
  • Exodus 4:10-11Sanctity in the quality of life “Moses said to the Lord, ‘O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?’”
  • More than the “product” of conception  It’s an indisputable fact of science that the life of the fetus is more than a “product” of conception. The occupant of the womb is a human life with the potential of becoming a mature human being. Abortion does not simply terminate a pregnancy; it terminates the life of a baby. If you have children, look closely at them and remind yourself that had you chosen to abort them (at any point from conception to birth), you would have ended their lives. This is beyond dispute. Induced abortion is the deliberate destruction of an unborn child.

Fearfully and wonderfully made but frail and woefully fallen;

v.14 – “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Psalm 103:13-16  “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”

“What if you don’t feel like you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”? What if your body is ravaged by cancer, plagued by infertility or frequent pregnancy loss, or succumbing to an incurable illness? What if your child’s development is slowed or disabled? While we cling to the fact that God is the creator of life, not every life comes out physically perfect. Can we trust that Psalm 139 includes these people, too?

Psalm 139 indicates the Creator regards all human beings as valuable. God cares about the intricate details of our formation. Using poetical language, the psalm depicts God knitting us together, orchestrating every chromosome in our genetic makeup. He gave us his image, making us unlike any other creatures in his creation (Gen. 1:27). This was true before the Fall and remains true even after our demise into sin.

Jesus is the most amazing example of perfectly living out this perspective on mankind. In his earthly ministry he often healed the outcasts and despised. Even the Law prohibited touching many of them (Lev. 13-15). But Jesus went to them. He touched them, making himself ceremonially unclean, healing them both physically and spiritually. Jesus viewed all people, regardless of their condition, as valuable image-bearers. In fact, as the Creator he created them and watched over their development from the earliest stages (Col. 1:16). When we minister to people who are broken both physically and spiritually, we can do so with the same heart as our Savior.

Hope for the Future

I don’t know why God creates some people with sound minds and others without. I don’t know why he gives some women fruitful wombs, while others try for years to no avail. I don’t know why some people fight cancer for years and lose the battle, while others are cured after treatment. And I don’t think we are meant to know, at least in this life.

When Jesus healed a man born blind, he turned the disciples’ thoughts on their heads by not only healing the man but also explaining that his blindness was so God would get glory in his life (John 9:1-3). So there is a purpose to our suffering and our physical brokenness—so that the works of God might be displayed in our fragile lives. What was destroyed by the fall of man will one day be restored when Christ makes all things new. When he inaugurated his kingdom all those years ago he was showing in his earthly ministry what will one day be true of all who are found in him. Revelation 21:4-5 is a beautiful picture of what is to come: tears will be no more, death and sin will be finally conquered, and all things will be made new. That means you.

Jesus’ healing of the broken, despised, and rejected foreshadowed the final redemption that believers will see one day. He secured this blessed redemption by becoming the most unclean person of all on the Cross. He identifies with your brokenness, pain, and isolation. Not only do you have a hope for future healing in the next life, but you also have a comforting Savior for this life (Isa. 53:4).

So while some are given the devastating charge of walking through this life more physically broken than the rest, we can trust that this life is not the end of the story. We have a hope for the future that was paid for by the Savior. The only hope for the suffering and broken person is to cling to Jesus, the one who can cleanse us of our sins and give us a future and a final resting place.

Regardless of your physical or mental status, you are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves you deeply. He created you in his image. Your life is not a mistake. It is a gift. And Psalm 139 has your name on it.” (Courtney Reissig) 

Steve Cornell

Watch this: Choose Life

My appeal to President Obama

On the third Sunday in January, Churches throughout our nation observe “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.” They do this partly to protest against the 1973 Supreme Court decision (Roe vs. Wade) which legalized abortion on demand. But they are also positively endorsing the sanctity of human life.

Recognizing that God made humans in His own image (Gen. 9:6), these Churches take seriously the words of our Declaration of Independence,

“… all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This view assumes the simple truth that the life of a fetus is more than a “product” of conception. The occupant of a mother’s womb is a human life with the potential of becoming a mature human being. A decision for abortion is not only a choice to terminate a pregnancy; it’s equally a choice to terminate the life of a baby. Induced abortion is the deliberate destruction of an unborn child. We know far too much to deceive ourselves about this or to politicize it. 

Appeal to the President:

When President Obama was elected, I wrote a piece congratulating him and expressing my hope for change. I included the following: 

“With the election of Barack Obama as 44th president of the USA, it pleases me deeply that we have moved even further from some of the saddest days of American history. The wrongful treatment of African-Americans during the evil days of slavery must never be repeated. But another group of vulnerable citizens has received far worse treatment. Will the new President’s policies further the horrors unleashed upon this group? Or, will he stand in a great tradition of those who (against all odds and pressure) oppose oppression and violence?

Will our new President help the helpless? Will he hear the cries of the most precious and vulnerable citizens? Or, will he cower to the pressures of popularity and political expedience? The unborn babies living in their mothers’ wombs need a President who values their lives. Will he refuse to support any policies aimed at their destruction? Will this president say, “Never again!”? Or, will he increase the horrific systematic destruction of the unborn? Will he deny their personhood and let them die brutally at the hands of “professionals”? Or, will he say, “Enough is enough!”?

Other articles:

  1. Are Christians Obsessed With Gays and Abortion?
  2. Why don’t atheists oppose abortion?
  3. Mugged by Ultrasound
  4. True health care for all women
  5. Inalienable Freedom of Choice: the god of this age
  6. Sanctity even in the quality of human life?
  7. Role of Government in responding to right and wrong

Steve Cornell

* My title for my message this Sunday: “When I was made in the secret place” (Psalm 139:13-16)

A powerful obstacle to spiritual growth

overcoming obstaclesIf you’ve had a messed up 18-year factor, or faced some great difficulty or loss during that time, how can you move from diagnosis to cure? You acknowledge that it had a destructive defining influence on your life and relationships and you don’t like it. But how can you move beyond the destructive consequences to a constructive and positive path?

People say,

“Just move on.”  That sounds too simple.

“Forget the past.”  It doesn’t seem to work that way.

“Get over it.”  You’re not sure how.

“How long are you going to wallow in it?”

Frustrated by such statements, you know the people who say these things just don’t understand. You don’t like how your past has had such a negative affect on you. You are sad that it has hurt people close to you. You’re not sure what to do, but trite answers like these seem shallow and naive.

Starting point:

“The only thing you can change about the past is how you let it affect you in the future.” Denial won’t get you anywhere! You can’t just pretend that nothing happened. If you are doing this, those close to you will know it.

3 Key Words:

1. Control

What kind of control does it have on me?

How can I gain control over the affect it has on my life?  (Not always “what should I do?” but “what has this done to me?”)

2.  Surrender

I need to wave my white flag and confess to God my lack of power or ability to change or to turn things to a constructive and beneficial outcome.

3. Offer

Offer or present your loss, trial, and sadness to God as something you desire for Him to use to work out redemptive, restorative and constructive good in your life. My mother did this in relation to her alcoholic father. When she was a new believer, someone recommended that she thank God for her father and ask the Lord to use her experience for good purposes in and through her life. Although this sounded strange to her, she sincerely followed the advice and it became a powerful turning point for her.

God is the master potter when it comes to taking something really ugly and bringing amazing good out of it.  He is the God of the unexpected and the impossible.  When the setbacks and obstacles mount up, we are in a good place for God to do His amazing work of redemption, rescue, restoration and renewal.

Bottom line: “Man’s extremity furnishes the most suitable opportunity for God to display His power!” (cf. 2 Chronicles 20:12, Jehoshaphat facing Moab and Ammon)

When we say, “I can’t go on. I’m down for the count. I can’t do this. I am hopeless and helpless. I am a mess. I need help. I can’t face tomorrow and I don’t know what to do.” In these times, we are in a very good place for experiencing God’s restorative grace and mercy. Turn to him based on the three words above. Talk to God about each one.

The following Scripture have been a great help to me in such times:

  • Hebrews 4:16 moments
  • Psalm 62:8 prayer sessions
  • 2 Corinthians 1:8-9; 12:7-12- a great example
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 in God’s school of comfort
  • Deuteronomy 8:3-5  Need for God
  • 2 Corinthians 4:7  Clay vessels

Remaining BIG question:

What is a primary obstacle to transformation and freedom—to redemption, rescue, restoration and renewal? Answer: An angry heart! A major obstacle to overcoming the past is resentment. Many people harbor a silent fury about the things that hurt them. To be free from the power that the past holds over us, we must come to terms with any resentments we carry. Someone said that “anger” is always one letter away from “danger.”

Unresolved anger embitters life and eats the soul.  Here’s how it works.  We go through life collecting our grievances, adding up our losses, rehearsing our injuries, nursing our wounds and sledging in our grudge,  and a slow burning resentment grows into a steady fire that burns deep inside our souls.  In a strange way, this can often be our path of revenge.  Do you understand? Unable or fearful of taking actual revenge, we nourish and cherish our resentment as more subtle form of retaliation.

We don’t show the smoke through our noses and ears in public—at least, not often.  We understand the benefits of public concealment.  But, if you get close enough to us,  you’ll find out that under the veneer of public nicety is an angry, resentful heart.  Push the wrong buttons, and you’ll see it. Anger is a potentially potent force of destruction. It also is the catalyst that carries generational sins to the third and fourth generation.

One young man told me how his grandfather and grandmother had given birth to his father out-of-wedlock and gave him up for adoption to an uncle to hide the shame from his “legitimate” siblings. It took three generations for the resentment to final stop its destructive course in the family. Resentment for past hurts is a powerful and tenacious force!

An RN in our Church suggested to me that for women-depression and anxiety are often rooted in unresolved resentment. Based on years of ministry experience, I concur with this observation.
Ephesians 4:26-27: Resolve anger daily

“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.

Remember: One of Satan’s most effective tools of destruction is unchecked anger. For some people, it becomes a prison with a lifetime sentence.

The Better path:

visit the 3 key words: Control, Surrender, and Offer. These are tough words for those who nurse an angry heart. Surrender and Offer are words to help you address the matter of control. Control is a big issue for angry people. Before all of this, the matter of forgiveness and the nature of reconciliation must be understood and applied. (see: Forgiveness)

see: Detox plan

Steve Cornell