So for those who don’t know, Thabiti Anyabwile has written a piece called, “Errata: An Apology to Some Evangelicals” I’m pretty much in agreement with most things he says, and I’ve never seen him sin against anyone on social media, blogging, or elsewhere. So I’ve got absolutely no skin in this particular game. Just the same, I think his letter is such a great example, a good thing, a lead we should all follow.
And not just on social media, but out in the world at large.
First off, he wrote about fear and anger being one reason why people lash out, which is quite true. The roots of much conflict in the world has to do with fear. God did not give us a spirit of fear, so for Christians this is something we should really pay attention to. Somebody smart once said, “the Bible has 365 warnings about fear, one for every day of the year.” Fear can make you defensive, reactionary, and a bit crazy.
The rest of his letter doesn’t really apply to me. I’m really not all that combative, aggressive, but then he went and got personal and arrived at number six, “I want to ask your forgiveness for acting out of hopelessness.”
Exactly! About 95% of my issues all stem from acting out of hopelessness. Desperation is not a good guide. Cynicism, sarcasm, even some good humor, are also all ways of coping with apparent hopelessness.
I’ve spent perhaps a decade battling against hopelessness and despair, powerlessness, justice never coming, the bad guys always winning. That represents a wrong mindset, not a factual truth. I probably repent of hopelessness and of a fear of injustice about a dozen times a day, every day, day in and day out. Usually it’s pretty simple repentance, like “oops, let me rephrase that, the way I just said that to myself doesn’t honor the God of all hope.”
God is a God of hope, which means hopelessness and despair are not of God. Took me a long, time to figure out how to repent of my hopelessness because, well I don’t know, maybe because hopelessness feels more like a symptom of reality, a result of circumstances rather than an actual sin? Also, the world, politics, other people often encourage and validate us in our hopelessness.
“The rich just get richer and the poor just get poorer. The bad guys always win. You can’t fight city hall. Some people are always going to be above the law. It’s just the way things are. Come quickly Lord Jesus, we’re all just going to hell in handbasket. The more things change the more they just stay the same….”
One definition of hope is, “having the grounds to believe that something good may happen.” Think about that one. We who follow Jesus have the grounds!! Those of us in faith really need to remember that it is our job to spread the Good News, to bring Hope to one another, “and all the more when the day is drawing near.”