What Am I Called to Do? (Part 6): When Anger Is An Act Of Discipleship

I suggested earlier that God made us such that every person desires justice for all people. The result of being created this way is a lingering sense that what we see around us is not what God intended. Most people feel pretty overwhelmed by the injustices around them, as if there is nothing that they can do. I would suggest that those injustices you are most attuned to are a significant indicator of God’s call on your life.God's Calling Map

If you look again at the map (explained here) that is central to my understanding of how you discern Christian calling, you can easily see that there are needs all over the world. Every red “X” represents a broken country, an abused child, or threat to our global environment. Of course, there are endlessly more needs than are displayed. Every time I look around I am floored by the challenges that are around us. But the Good News is that we do not fight injustice alone. Jesus has already promised that a time is coming when the world will be set to rights. All suffering will end as Jesus destroys death, Hell, and the grave finally and completely.

In the mean time, you and I have a call to push back the gates of hell as our witness to God’s coming Kingdom. Inevitably, we will not succeed completely. I think this realization is the one that paralyzes so many from doing anything because they intuitively know that they can’t do everything. Don’t worry about that. Jesus has already promised that he will set the world to the way it was intended. We are only called to witness to that coming age by our fight for justice in this age.

Not only is Jesus fighting this battle with us, ensuring us that we do not have to end injustice on our own strength, but we are also part of a Body that is called to do this work together. I don’t have to do it all because you too are called to fight injustice. All the red “X’s” on the map that are outside of your passions circle will be inside the passion circle of someone else. So in those moments when you feel despair at suffering in the world, just know that you are part of a team. You just have to be faithful with your part of it.

N.T. Wright uses a great analogy in this regard. He talks about the work of a stone mason that is working on a great cathedral. That craftsman has plans for the stones that they are supposed to carve, but they may never know where it will fit in the great cathedral. They just do their work faithfully, and trust that the Architect will bring it all together in a work of beauty.

So how do you know which part you are called to work? Where are the needs in the world that most break your heart? What are the needs that make you so angry that you cannot keep yourself from acting. In other words, what are the needs in the world that ignite your passions?

Fighting injustice can be incredibly hard. If you try to take on every injustice then you won’t be able to sustain engagement for long. But if you fight that injustice that makes you really angry then you will not stop when the going gets tough. If your heart is broken for a hurting people, you will not stop when you are broke, sick, or tired. Roadblocks will become speed bumps.

Just as you must pay attention to what gives you greatest joy, you must also pay attention to what most makes you angry.

Discernment Exercise:
Spend some time browsing the internet looking at websites that talk about needs that are dear to your heart. Don’t just look up those needs that we all know about like hunger and homelessness. Learn about the need for teachers in the inner city, the need for scientific solutions to fuel shortages, and the shortage of basic healthcare domestically and internationally. If you can’t think of anything, just search for “greatest needs in ….(a city/country, business industry, etc)” or “injustices in…”

The internet exercise is a good place to start. If you really want to understand the world’s needs, you need to engage in the practice of compassion for those in need consistently for many years. Serve in soup kitchens and talk with the guests. Travel to a region (domestic or international) that is in great need. Go to a church in the worst area of your town and ask the pastor or some members what the needs are in their area.

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This post is part of a 14 part series to help persons discern God’s call on their lives.
To see all the posts in the “What Am I Called to Do?” series

Previous Post: What Am I Called to Do? (Part 5): Find The Song That Makes Your Heart Dance And Set To “Repeat”
Next Post: What Am I Called To Do? (Part 7): What Is That In Your Hand

Trackbacks

  1. […] Today, we have a guest post from Jeremiah Gibbs.  Jeremiah has served since 2009 as University Chaplain at the University of Indianapolis. Besides leading campus ministry programming and providing pastoral care at U/Indy, he is also the Director of the Lantz Center for Christian Vocation and Spiritual Formation. Jeremiah is married to the Rev. Jenifer Stuelpe Gibbs, who is Associate Pastor of Meridian Street United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. They adopted their son, De’Avalon, when he was four years old. In a recent series on Calling from his own blog, he has been engaged in a series on calling and vocation, each of which includes a discernment exercise to help people explore more with God.  We are re-posting Part 6: When Anger Is an Act of Discernment. […]

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