Monday, July 25, 2016

Getting Angry

“We try to live in such a way that no one will be hindered from finding the Lord by the way we act, and so no one can find fault with our ministry. II Corinthians 6:3

 Don’t get angry with Muslims or it will disqualify you from ministry in the eyes of the Muslims around you. I believe that was some of the best advice I have received in my missionary career. Many things can arouse either righteous or unrighteous anger in us. We can feel anger about spiritual blindness, certain undesirable cultural customs, feeling used, inequality shown towards females, lying, or control over a person's soul, mind, and body. Many Christian women in ministry can feel anger towards Muslim men. Maybe we feel anger because we think we are wasting precious time in a ministry that does not appear fruitful. The trigger arousing anger in us may be big or small. Anger can build up in us over time in Muslim ministry. We need to know how to handle both righteous and unrighteous anger.

I wish I could say I have never displayed anger before my Muslim friends. Recently I felt like a  failure. I blew it. A visit was arranged for 4 p.m. with a Muslim family. Suddenly at 1 p.m. Afsana called me and asked if we could come over right away because their Muslim friends had just invited them over and they would have to leave at 3:30 p.m. I was upset. Her community took precedence and I felt rejected and offended.  I didn’t say any angry words over the phone but I felt anger well up in me. I hoped she did not detect it. Another time a tea visit was arranged with another Muslim family. Naheed called and explained that her husband was not feeling well so they could not come. I was disappointed but not angry. Anger came later when I discovered from someone else that there was a community picnic which Naheed and her husband suddenly were invited to. It has happened a number of times that after a visit has been arranged and agreed upon that something arises in their Muslim communities which breaks up the plan. The desire or obligation to be with their own community first pulls hard at them.

Sometimes I have gotten angry – or at least felt it. Other times the look on my face has been interpreted as being angry. Believe me, we are watched carefully! Whatever it has been, the aftermath relational waves have brought forth sad results. Maybe this has happened to you, too.  It keeps me on my knees asking God for cleansing and for wisdom and self-control. There is no question that the detection of anger in us towards our Muslim friends can get magnified and friendships broken off.  But most of all our witness about Jesus may be jeopardized. It is an awful feeling when a sense of failure and guilt engulfs us. Satan loves to get us into that state of mind. On the positive side I can say that these kinds of situations have created a deeper reliance upon the Holy Spirit and humbled me. Growth in self control and humility are never wasted. Our failures are not the end of God using us. He is merciful. When we are repentant He is faithful to cleanse us. And we keep going with our eyes upon Jesus.

Dear heavenly Father, please help me to display Your holiness before my Muslim friends. In Jesus’ name, Amen.