Anonymous asked: I'm in high school and a pretty devout Christian, and I find it hard to overcome the feeling of anger I get whenever I see someone bash on Christianity and see all believers as "people who believe in an invisible man in the sky" and I get really pissed. The people in m school (apart from the ones in my youth group) are mostly atheists and make crude jokes about it and make fun of my religion. I get hurt and angry and it makes me feel terrible. What should I do? How do i overcome my anger?
Hey, sorry for the long delay in response, I got caught up with end of the semester projects, interviews, work, etc.
First of all, I know what you mean. It can be infuriating when people completely disregard and demean your beliefs/opinions/position, especially when they don’t know what they’re talking about. The first thing I would say to do though is pray about it. Tell God that you’re pissed and ask for his help in dealing with both the anger and the situation. Then remember that you are fulfilling the prophecy of Christ, because he said very clearly that his followers would be persecuted in every way from ridicule to murder. Matthew 5:11-12 says “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad for great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” And speaking of the prophets before you: Elijah. Check out I Kings 19, it’s a story of how Elijah was feeling particularly attacked and alone and cries out to God about it (ok, he actually asks God to kill him, but he always tended to be a bit melodramatic). And God’s response is to reveal himself to Elijah, tell him that he is not alone, and then gives him his mission.
So that’s what I would recommend for you. First, meet with God. Next, know you aren’t alone, and invest in that community of believers, whether that’s online, at church, in your youth group, etc. And finally, be missional. God’s mission to his disciples is to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations”, and I’m sure he has you in that situation for a reason.
To that end, practice love, self control, and learning. We are called to love all people, regardless of their attitudes toward us. And “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (proverbs 15:1). There are most likely 2 things they want to see happen: they want to make you angry, and they want to see you look stupid. So don’t let either of those occur! Guard your words and don’t rise to their taunts, and make sure you do your research before getting in any debates.
One last idea is to try to give them some perspective. To me, God isn’t an idea, or a concept, or a worldview, or an opinion. He’s someone that I know and love. Try to get them to understand that. Very few people would think it’s ok to ridicule someone’s best friend, significant other, or family every time they see them, and this really isn’t any different. Tell them that to you it isn’t, and if they think you’re completely insane that’s fine, but your actions don’t show that (I hope) and refusing to have a basic level of respect for their fellow human being should reflect badly on them, not on you.
Hope this helps!