Dr. Yolanda Pierce continues her six-week series of Lenten Devotionals. Devotionals can be found on KineticsLive.com every Wednesday beginning with Ash Wednesday.
By Dr. Yolanda Pierce,
A verse from Psalm 51 stirred something deep within me in worship today: “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts.” If I am truthful, my “inner parts” have been burning with anger and longing for justice. I recently wrote about Trayvon Martin, the young African American teenager brutally shot and killed while walking home in a gated neighborhood. Trayvon Martin is dead while his murderer walks free. I have cried to God for justice, not just for this young man, but for all those who are victims of racial profiling and gun violence.
As Christians, we are often scared of emotions like rage and anger. When we experience these emotions, we believe that they are unholy or unrighteous or not Christ-like. And so we suffocate on our natural emotions, afraid that we sin by expressing them. But if God desires truth in the “inner parts,” then it is truthful to admit we become angry and enraged in the face of such tragedies. It is truthful to wonder if God’s justice will ever be seen on this earth. It is truthful to lament, with bitter tears, how history repeats itself again and again as the blood of innocent black children is spilled in the streets and murderers go free.
I have examined my “inner parts,” and within I find sorrow, grief, despair, anger, and rage. I am angry at the complacent. I am angry at the willfully ignorant. And I am angry at the racism that festers like an open wound. My reader may ask: does this type of anger have a place in the Lenten season? I would answer with an emphatic “yes.”
For some, the Lenten season is a period in which to give up candy or coffee or Facebook; but these are luxuries and the denial of them are not genuine sacrifices. If the Lenten season is to be a time of deep reflection and repentance, it begins with truth telling, even the revelation of truths that you would otherwise hide in your inner parts. We cannot stop at the point of anger and rage; these strong emotions should not and cannot paralyze us. But they can propel us to the work of justice; our anger and rage can fuel the work we absolutely must do to make sure that justice and judgement can roll down like a mighty stream.
I am a weary Christian this Lenten season, with thoughts of justice for Trayvon Martin.