Monday, November 17, 2014


I am a voracious reader.

I love reading, always have.

And my taste in books is rather eclectic.  I tend to lean toward fiction, for I do indeed love a good story, but non-fiction has its appeal, too.  Almost entirely, the non-fiction books that I read are written by Christian authors.

As for fiction?  I'm all over the place!

First of all, might I just say that I am quite pleased to see that the world of fiction now contains some wonderful Christian books.  Just as the world of Christian music has become more "legit" in recent years – the world of Christian literature is becoming more professional, more marketable. With better writing, and better exposure, the world of Christian fiction is exploding.

No longer do we have to be "embarrassed" by faulty fiction with poor plot, shallow characterization, or stilted dialogue.  Good books are being written – books that just happen to be written by Christian authors.

Having said that, I am also a great reader of secular fiction.  I am quite fond of mysteries, having earned my *reading stripes* on Nancy Drew.  And I also enjoy fantasy and science fiction.  I find that I tend to go on "reading jags"becoming enraptured with one genre, and reading only that for several books in a row.

Lately, I've gotten rather immersed in historical detective novels.  Novels that have a wonderful plot, great characters, and a smattering of true historical facts and settings.  I've learned a lot about other centuries in other countries.  I've discovered a lot about early medical practices and forensics. And let me tell you, I'm glad I live in the 21st century!!

But, once in a while, I find that my two worlds clash.  My *Christian* comes against the worldview.

This happened just the other day.

I'm currently in the middle of a great series.  The characters are truly captivating.  The settings are breathtaking.  And the mysteries are multi-layered and intriguing.  So, I'm hooked on finishing this series, and then eagerly awaiting the next installment.

But, as I was reading the introduction of the next book (for me) in the series, which is set in Jerusalem, I was taken aback by something I read.  The sentence started out, "In the first century of the Common Era…" OK, I'm immediately perturbed at the use of this term.  I think it's a way to get rid of the traditional A.D. – which stands for "Anno Domini" – and means "in the year of our Lord."  It serves as the other side of B.C. – which stands for "before Christ."

So, I'm upset that this author is removing herself from any reference that uses Jesus as a benchmark.

Then, she refers to Him like this: "…a troublesome rabbi and carpenter from Nazareth…"

This is where my spiritual shackles rose!

How dare she dismiss our Lord?!

That entire day, I felt upset.  And I've been thinking about my thoughts and feelings ever since.

Why did I react like this?

And why so quickly?

For yes, my reaction was visceral, without rational thought, instinctual, and even protective.

I felt the same way I used to when someone would make fun of one of my sons, or try to bully them.  The *mother eagle* in me would swoop in with flaming eyes of vengeance and protection.

"Don't you dare go after one of my boys!!"

And, this is how I felt after reading these words.

"How dare you go after my Lord?!"

I felt righteously indignant.

So, curious, I looked up that term:

"Righteous indignation is typically a reactive emotion of anger over perceived mistreatment, insult, or malice. It is akin to what is called the sense of injustice…a feeling involving anger mingled with contempt or disgust."

Yup, that's what it felt like.

But, on pondering this whole incident, and my ensuing reaction, I have three things I want to bring to the table today.  Three lessons that I think the Lord wanted me to learn.

1) We should stand up for what we believe.

In other words, sometimes I think we're tempted to slough off things that people say or do.  We're unwilling to take a stand, for we are afraid of offending them, or of being attacked ourselves.  And so, thinking we're being spiritually meek and humble (at least that's the rationalization I use sometimes), we let things slide.

I've been party to conversations when people are bashing Christians and religion to my face.  My old neighbor used to do this.  And, I was silent. While on the inside, I kept thinking these two things:

"Does she not KNOW that I am a Christian, too?"

"And why am I not setting her straight about that?"

Yeah, sometimes I made a feeble attempt to justify the actions of people associated with the faith, but often it was a very tepid, milquetoast response on my part.  And part of what made it hard to have a good response is that, quite frankly, sometimes Christians behave badly.

I have often said that Christians can "block the view."  Sometimes it's really hard to see Jesus through our faults and sins.  Sometimes we're obstacles and not reflections.

But there is another situation in which I find it hard to stand up for what I believe.

I also find myself getting upset, but staying silent, when this happens in conversations.  The person says to me something along the lines:

"Oh, you're religious."

My hackles rise, but I either stay quiet, or I make some attempt to distinguish between a religion and a relationship.

Usually it falls on deaf ears.  For most people will then look at me like I'm a nutcase, a fanatic who's having a "relationship" with an invisible being.


I am all too often a spiritual shrinking violet, slinking away from confrontation or possible offense – even though the Spirit within me has been hurt, demeaned, or dismissed.

I want to do better.

OK, the next thing that I think the Lord wanted me to learn is this:

2) We should feel compassion and pity for the unsaved.

My first reaction to this person was anger.  Oh boy, I wanted to "get in her face."  I wanted to point out how disillusioned she was, how woefully incorrect she was in her view of Jesus.  I wanted to tell her off and set her straight.

And not in a kind way.

But, over the next few hours after reading this, the Lord began to change my heart.  He began to reveal to me that this woman didn't deserve my anger and hatred – though her words might stir up ill feelings, her lost heart should move me to tears.

I felt convicted.

Righteous conviction.

I got to thinking.  Though we might be highly offended at the words and actions of the unsaved, what should move us most is sadness and pity at the lost state of their souls.

Jesus told us to love our enemies.

How can we do that?

Sometimes I think it means that we pray, fervently, for their salvation.

For after all, aren't we really offended in the first place because we are privileged to know the Savior?

And don't we want that for everyone?

It's what the Lord wants.

I am reminded of this verse:

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9, NASB)

These people are not ignorant or stupid.  We are not "better" than them.  For truth be told, all of us are but creatures in desperate need of a Savior, whether we know Him or not.

Therefore, we should have the heart of God, who mourns over the lost, who does everything in His power to move them toward repentance.  The One who died for them, and loves them.

So, we can feel angry, yes, but we should really feel sad, and we should pray.

And finally, the Lord had this to say:

3) We should rely on Him in these situations.

Righteous indignation.

It should lead us to action, yes, but God-ordained action.  After all, we are not perfect – (I'm not, are you??).  And in our humanness, our indignation can become anger and we can say things we ought not.

Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between when I've been offended and feeling selfish anger, as opposed to a healthy indignation that comes from the Spirit.  Sometimes I can end up defending myself and not the Lord.  My heart is a deceptive thing.

Only Jesus knew indignation that was perfectly righteous.

He must lead us.

When to say something, and how to say it.

For His purpose in everything He did and said was to point to the Father.

And therefore, everything we do and say must also point to Him.  To His grace, His mercy, and His salvation.

This world is going to be offensive at times – perhaps lately, most of the time.  And we can be righteously angry and deeply offended.

How to react?

Stand up for what you believe, pray for the salvation of the lost, and rely on the Lord to do the speaking through you.

At the right time, in the right way, with the right words.

You're probably wondering, will I finish this book?  Probably.  For I do love the people, the story, and the series.  But, I am adding this author to my prayer list.

Because, though she wrote so eloquently about Jerusalem, the beautiful and shining city on a hill…

…she totally missed the Main Character.

It is ALL about Jesus.
The Way,
The Truth,
and The Life.

"Then the LORD asked Moses, 'Who makes a person's mouth?  Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD?  Now go!  I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.'" (Exodus 4:11-12, NLT)

"'At that time your mouth will be opened; you will speak...and will no longer be silent.  So you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the LORD.'" (Ezekiel 24:27, NIV)

"'...when I give you a message, I will loosen your tongue and let you speak. Then you will say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says!'  Those who choose to listen will listen, but those who refuse will refuse...'" 
(Ezekiel 3:27, NLT) 

"…do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." (Luke 12:11-12, ESV)

"...don't worry about how to respond or what to say.  God will give you the right words at the right time.  For it is not you who will be speaking – it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." (Matthew 10:19-20, NLT)

"...for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!" (Luke 21:15, NLT)

" one can tame the tongue.  It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.  And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth.  Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!...

If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom...the wisdom from above is first of all pure.  It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others.  It is full of mercy and good deeds.  It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.  And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness." (From James 3, NLT)

What gets your *spiritual hackles* up, and how do you handle it?

Linked with:


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. I would've been right there with you, Sharon, all bristled and indignant. It seems everywhere we turn God is being removed from the language and the city square, if you will. And it's all part of what's prophesied as happening in "the last days." But we know the end of the story and that's what keeps me joyful, despite being disgusted with how evil abounds.

  2. Great post, Sharon and I was shaking my head "yes" throughout as I was reading. I feel this way too...and it is that word - religious - that I am SO not fond of...the way most people use it. I have found myself on my soap box many times in similar situations and have also come to the realization that I maybe didn't sound very Christ-like while defending the truth...or myself. Thanks for this reminder...I needed it today.

  3. I know what you are talking about. Have you ever read Redeeming Love? And don't forget all the Christian movies that are coming out. We just saw Saving Christmas with Kurt Cameron - what a great guy and his sister too - mom did a good job with them - and the movie was different, but very good. love, sandie

  4. What gets my spiritual hackles up?

    Well...a few years ago I responded to statements by atheists and agnostics similar to your first reaction in this post.

    Lately, though, I don't really get bent out of shape by the words of those who don't profess to know Christ. After all, what should we expect? From their worldview, Christianity doesn't make much sense.

    As 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised."

    But what does get me is when those claiming to know Christ and understand the Bible exert narrow legalistic interpretations to keep God's children in bondage. Those disturb me...and often draw a response from me. I try to keep the responses civil, but also bold in proclaiming biblical truth!

    Thanks for the provocative post!

  5. I earned my reading stripes with Nancy Drew as well. :) I read mainly non-fiction these days, but I still love a great novel.

    Pushing past anger to get to compassion--something we all need to get better at. I appreciate your honesty here. Loving our enemies may be the hardest thing we're called to do. It is all about Jesus--yes!

  6. People mocking God, using his name flippantly or as swear word- these are things that get my spiritual hackles up. Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking post.

  7. I think my words "loved this post" sound trite and cliche but truly, your words are spot on! (I must admit my feathers were riffled by the authors words as well.)

  8. Hi Sharon! Looks like you've touched a nerve here. I read the paper everyday, and some of the columnists dismiss any faith as a silly waste of time and that just drives me nuts. What are we here for? Are we just some kind of accident? silly.
    I like your points on how to deal with the indignation that comes to my mind. I know that a kind word will show that I am a Christian, but sometimes that's hard to do. I get all 'mama eagle' too. Letting Jesus inspire and lead is such a great basic truth. Thank you for that!
    Love your insights my friend,

  9. {newly revised-kinda}

    "Righteous Indignation" ... yep, Sharon ... been there, seen that and get this completely but love the lessons that you pulled out of this one. I also learned some new interesting "reading" facts from you and about you :) of course, you far out read me and much more varied than I get ... it's good to know this. I basically stick with non-fiction Christian (although there were a few fiction series I read like "Left Behind" and "Joshua ..." and allegories like "Mountain of Spices" and "Hinds' Feet" and a new one, I'm loving "Master Potter") ... Anyhow, I realize that you weren't writing this to get our book tastes out there but I had to share. I steer clear of controversial book reading usually because I have enough in my real life.

    As I ponder your question, I wish my response was more like Jesus, when He looked at His beloved Jerusalem and wept. His compassion was true. I guess I am not quite sure how I handle this except for respond in my flesh (cuz I'm pretty good at that and not sitting back when something riles me. I think my recluse and maybe lack of Spanish (ha) keeps me from spilling over here in person but inside and in my house ... I am reacting!) I do have pity quite often on them. I do not see them as enemies (though they are) but really lost souls and this helps me have pity (though I still fail to pray for them as I should, I just get irate at how dare they --- don't they have any respect, and then I see myself and my lack)... I use to be more ready to be led to action. A positive one. Not any more, guess I'm wearing thin in that area. With an author, I might be inclined to right them or comment on there "space" (website for the book or theirs as an author) or perhaps do an unsolicited review (like on Amazon). Depends.

    I'm praying for you and some bold confidence of your faith and that relationship with J.O.Y. No more taking a back seat when anyone assaults you or Christians. Strength in you to loving defend the Truth or call upon Your Defender and tell them "Hey wait a minute, that's my Savior"... Righteous courage, too. OK?

    Love (((hugs))) and my prayers-many blessings,
    (OK now delete the other replies and we're good to go)

  10. Oh Sharon, I came to read your blog before going to bed. I am in a state of "Righteous Indignation" ,but then again perhaps my feelings tonight are anything but righteous and concern other christians. So I know I was meant to read this and I know I now need to go and pray

  11. She totally lost the main point, and the Main Character. But she's not the only one. Many around us go through life thinking the same way. Praying for the lost... it's the best thing we can do for them.

  12. I despise being misrepresented or lumped in with other foolish people who call themselves "Christians" but act like jerks. I want to stand up and say, "Leave me out of this! Change your t-shirt!" It gets my hackles up when Jesus is maligned because of some action like Westboro is fond of making.

  13. I loved your post and exposed feelings of righteous indignation! That is okay! I joined Bookbub as I love to read too, and they offer many free e-books. You can enter the type of books you like, mystery, inspirational, romance, Christian, History etc. They request me to do a "Review" for Amazon about many of the books. You might try leaving a soft review about your wishing the author would not dismiss Jesus as troublesome. Thank you for your entry to "Tell Me a True Story."

  14. I like what Hazel Moon said about doing a soft review about the book when you finish it. I think I would have had a bit of righteous indignation too at the start of reading the book, but glad you took the time to allow God to work through you and your feelings and come up with the thoughts that you did that you shared with us.

    I did have a case of righteous indignation over an article the magazine Redbook featured years ago how all men were prone to wanting to engage in pornography. I took offense to the writers "all" comment because I knew that was the furthest thing from my husband's interests. Wrote a letter of indignation to Redbook and canceled my subscription. I didn't get any response from them other than numerous requests to resubscribe, LOL.

    I do think praying for the unsaved is some of the best actions we can take in cases like yours!


  15. In my Bible study group yesterday we talked about putting on the armor of God and taking a stand, and of reaching out with love to the hurting people and the people who need to hear about the gospel. So your post is very relevant to me. Being bold to defend the faith in a loving way; not easy to do, and we are called to do it.

  16. Indeed she missed Him in her story and more importantly her life! I've been in that same boat when my indignation brought my flesh down to the accusers level. Where's the love, ya'll? The older I get the easier it is for me to see the other side of things. Not by coincidence. Good word, Sharon. We, me for sure, need a constant reminder so that we're the reflection not the ones who block the Light.

  17. These are such important points to ponder, Sharon. Scripture tells us we should not be surprised when we are misunderstood and ridiculed. But it still ruffles our feathers, huh?

  18. I am always so blessed when I come here, Sharon. I agree with you - when we let our righteous anger lead us to prayer, it is such a fruitful place - especially over judgement and bitterness. I had to learn how to do that when my husband battled porn - pray for the people in the industry instead of being angry and judgmental.

  19. Great reflection! I agree that we need to pray about what, when, or how to share the good news. Otherwise we are likely to push away rather than spur someone towards salvation in Christ. I love the verse you shared from 2 Peter!

  20. I've had some similar thoughts lately regarding some Facebook status updates I see from people who claim to believers. But what they're saying doesn't jive with what I know about God. It's disheartening, but, you're right, that we have to rely on God and stand up for truth in the ways he leads us to. I'm glad you shared this and linked up at my place for Three Word Wednesday.

  21. Very good post. I also love to read and find myself often angry at the book or author for bashing Christianity in some way. Usually I will stop reading at that point, but if it happens in the middle or toward the end of the book, I justify it somehow to continue the story. Whether that is right or wrong, I don't know. But I never thought to pray for the authors. I will start to do that now. What a great lesson.
    -Miranda at

  22. This reminds me what Eli Wiesel and Martin Luther King Jr. said so many times - indifference makes one as guilty as the perpetrator. We need to stand up for what we believe. I believe that with all my heart. Hugs Sharon. Have an amazing Friday out there.

  23. Sharon, such a delight it always is to come here. This was simply fabulous. Do I always say that about your posts? Because to me they always are. A great sentence to summarize >>> "Stand up for what you believe, pray for the salvation of the lost, and rely on the Lord to do the speaking through you." I don't always do the best of job with all three but I pray He continues to keep growing me. Love you, friend. xoxo

  24. I love this, "
    Stand up for what you believe, pray for the salvation of the lost, and rely on the Lord to do the speaking through you."

    This to me is the goal. I've always been meek in sharing about our Father because of fear of being attacked. This gives me hope!

  25. Oh, dear friend!! I felt my blood start to boil as I read what this author wrote in the book you are reading! Whew! I had a very strong reaction, too, and I must say, it was not in any way first. Until I read your precious words! You are SO right...our righteous indignation must be bridled and tempered by the precious Holy Spirit, otherwise our fierce love and defense of Him may do irreparable damage. God help us to know how to find that fragile balance! Your dear words were so edifying, as always. God uses you consistently to encourage, inspire, and bless me in so many ways. Praying for you and sending much love your way. :)

  26. Whoooeeee, yes, Sharon-- on all the things, YES. Sometimes I get so ticked at books/movies etc that dismiss our Lord that I seriously ditch it right there-- but obviously can't do that to the people that are in my life. My actions must be coated in love!

  27. Thanks for this great post Sharon and for sharing it at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

  28. Maybe the point here is that you did recognize what's missing and have been able to start a conversation about it. We're called to be in the world, not remove ourselves from it - so we're going to run across people with different, even contrary, beliefs. Love that you've decided to stick with the book, but pray for the author and pray for other readers.

  29. I love this! Speaks the truth. I really don't understand why some people undermine others and especially trash talk those who contradicts what they believe in. Can't we just live in harmony by respecting each other's beliefs rather than contradicting and criticizing each other?

  30. Oh wow! I loved this!

    I frequently debate the difference between religion and relationship - as you said, it often falls on deaf ears.

    What a thought-provoking post.

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

  31. Well, for the record... he WAS a bit of a troublemaker :)


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)