dueling poems

Dueling Poems: A Satire on the Modern Christian’s Righteous Indignation vs. a Call to Repent

Hi, friends. I sometimes get frustrated by legalistic Christians. Legalistic Christians tend to neglect the most foundational components of the faith–

  • understanding we are all sinners saved by grace and, consequently, being humble and constantly repentant
  • following Jesus’s example of caring for the least of these including the poor, the outcast, the mentally and physically broken, etc. (a subject for another post, but I’ll add that God in the OT, who some antagonistic Christians embrace more than Jesus, also told His people to care for the least of these, esp. the foreigners, orphans, widows, and poor in their midst)
  • building up the body of Christ with love, patience, mercy, joy, peace, discretion in words and actions, etc.

Legalistic Christians tend to point out real or perceived sin in others while ignoring their own, and in their lives, neither the fruit of the Spirit nor discipleship of Jesus is evident. They only whip out their religion to make a mountain out of a molehill or to justify a worldly action or attitude.

Anyways…

I decided to try a new outlet for my thoughts through satire, and I enjoyed the experience, so “Dueling Poems” might become a thing around here. 🙂

Preface: I live in the South and have attended the same church for my whole life, so this is not meant as a condemnation of small, rural churches. I’m just satirizing some things I see and hear.

A Satire on the Modern Christian’s Righteous Indignation

When I grew up

At the church in a country lane

Everyone in the congregation

Looked and acted the same

We were told what to think

The preacher taught us well

I didn’t need to read the Bible

To tell you all about Hell

My mom and dad’s religion

Was the same as my own

Don’t need to read the scripture

Because I already know:

Atheists are Satan’s friends

The gays are condemned

And as for me?

Well, I don’t have any sin

The world today has gone mad

On Christmas, there’s a war!

You may think “Happy Holidays” is fine

But I’m keeping score

These days, I can’t help feeling

Righteous indignation about everything

So I condescend and argue and shout

All in His name

What would Jesus do?

He’d trample on his enemies

I don’t need to read the Bible

To know what I believe

A Call to Repent

Repent, oh arrogant sinner

Get on your knees and beg

“Lord, I shamefully confess

Every hateful word I’ve said”

Invite Jesus’s grace into your heart

Approach Father God with humility

Let the Holy Spirit guide your actions

What truly matters, you’ll begin to see

See the poor and the suffering and the lost in your midst

See how discipleship with Jesus works–

We can make up for time we’ve wasted

Though when we see our own sin, it hurts

Dive into the scripture

And pray–often, every day

Get to know the Lord of love

And let Him lead the way

Thanks for reading! What did you think? Do you have something to say about righteous indignation in modern society? Let me know in the comments.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV)

38 comments

  1. What we call “righteous indignation” is so many times just sinful anger disguised in pretend piety. This is one of the major things that turns the lost (and even some of the saved) away from churches. Sadly, we’re all guilty of doing this from time to time. The call to repentance applies to all, especially we who are part of the local church. It’s time to take off our blinders, turn towards the mirror, and see what God sees. It may be frightening, but it will lead us to a purer, more compassionate walk with Christ. Great job!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Many of the Psalms follow this chiastic structure: “O God I rejoice in your ways. Your mercy is everlasting.” and “O Lord of Justice, bring destruction on my enemies. Do not withhold your smiting from them. This I will be vindicated by You.” in the next psalm. We are forgiven sinners and that is possible for anyone else that believes and trusts in God.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If I am interpreting your comment correctly, it seems you are saying that juxtaposing poems that complement yet oppose each other is a rhetorical tool in the Psalms. It is intriguing to see those variations in tone and purpose back-to-back. Some Psalms even have that juxtaposition in one poem–the Psalmist laments through the whole thing yet reiterates God’s mercy at the very end. Seems to reflect the variety of emotions humans feel and experiences we go through.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think a lot of people judge without even realizing they do it, especially with social media. One little post can make someone think good or bad about a person, as if they know everything about them. I know I judge sometimes based on what I see people post, and I try to hold my tongue and think wisely about what I say on social media.

    Besides that, I think the world is giving off very conflicting messages: “live your own truth” while being outraged against a those who seem to go against that or have a different viewpoint.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Definitely true that we make snap judgements on social media. Perhaps that is why many people either feel the need to present their lives as perfect or feel insecure about themselves. I use much more discretion about what I post and where I post nowadays. Here on WordPress, vulnerability is actually embraced and encouraged, and I try to spend more time here and less on Facebook.

      I’ve never really thought of it that way, but that’s a good point! “Be yourself…unless I don’t like yourself.” Seems like another conquer and divide tactic that makes everyone feel attacked by someone else. Those who are “different” feel attacked by “normal” people for being who they are, while those who are “normal” feel like those who are “different” are attacking their traditions and morals. (Excuse the inadequate categorizations of “different” and “normal”)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post. In my life group we had a discussion about living in our culture today. One thought I have had is that it is not my place to judge anyone. I should share but I don’t want how I share to be the reason anyone is offended,

    One other thought I had was that I cannot expect someone who doesn’t know Jesus to live the way Christians believe we should live because I cannot expect them to do so when they do not have the power on the inside through the Holy Spirit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Matt, and good points! The method of delivering a message is almost as important as the content of the message, and many have scared people away with condescending judgement, dramatic rantings, etc. It is also important to remember that non-Christians are not filled with the Holy Spirit, and all the knowledge and debating in the world can’t force someone to open their heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Some interesting stuff, i only have a big bear with one line 😋 but I’ll refrain from saying which.

    Its an impossible task that sinners have to live among sinners when they’ve been called to be saints. We must be careful to say that no person can bring judgement unless they’re perfect themselves as no one is perfect therefore nobody is held to any standard but of course Jesus talks about the log and the speck and rightly so.

    That is why the Lord left us in a position to have an absolute standard in his word. You see you could tell a sinner that they’re displeasing God by the standard of his word and the reply could inevitable come, so are you. In which case the judgement is right but both sinners behaviours are wrong thus they both need to change rather than coming to the conclusion that they both need to be quiet amd peaceable with nobody ever holding a standard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for commenting anyways, David. 🙂 You are right that there has to be a balance between not judging others and speaking truth in love. You probably couldn’t make blanket rules, though, since every circumstance is different and should be handled in a unique way. In any situation, though, I’m sure that speaking with gentleness and self-control will drive more progress than speaking with bitterness and superiority. You’re also right that two wrongs (or one million wrongs) don’t make a right. Every one of us needs to repent for our sins–the angry Christian, me, you, the person the angry Christian is calling out, etc.

      Like

  6. More self-righteousness than indignation. A any rate, we must all wait in line and take our turns so all can convict each other, one by one until we are back together as one once again. In the end, that is where we are. Standing together all alone, with nothing but the comfort of God. It is with nothing but loud empty noise, we allege what we are: at times, we rise just a little above sin and nothing more: except for our Lord, Jesus. This was a great comparison, my good friend. You did an exceptional job as always in calling us to task. Your gift, is that you do so with humility and good grace. Amen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Tom. I like how you said that we rise just a little above sin and nothing more. It really puts into perspective how uselessly silly it is for people to ride on high horses. We have NOTHING to boast about but our salvation, which is an undeserved gift!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. More than likely why Christ tried to explain if we see someone sinning we need to make sure we are not hypocritical. But we are encouraged to be open and to rebuke each other…but with love and gentleness.

    Definitely, it is hard for many not to get on their high horse and become cold heartened. For me, legalism bothers me greatly and I see the hypocrisy. But I feel very recently God has been revealing to me to be careful to not become bitter toward hypocrites because that too goes against Him. ❤ and sometimes my frustration is riled from a passion that is not reflective of Christ either, it is hard to admit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right that we can rebuke each other with love and gentleness. Of course, we all need to humble ourselves to receive those rebukes in the same manner. That is when our words convict each other. 🙂

      You are also right that we must be cautious not to feel bitter towards non-Christians OR our own. I have to remind myself that judging a judgemental person is like a pot calling a kettle black. I try to pray for those people that God will open their eyes to the true calling of discipleship while remembering that I am not perfect either.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I like the second poem better. At least I would like to think I’m following that one more. 🙂 The difference between the poems is that the second one is relational, the first is judgmental and not relational. Reminds me of the letter to the Ephesian church in Rev. 2. They knew who the bad guys were but they had lost their first love.
    Btw, I once asked God to remind me whenever I was judging someone. I begged Him to stop after the first morning. I probably did it 100 times by then! LOL! Anyway, I got the point He was trying to make.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good post.

    My thing here lately is not to judge people but to try and persuade them to honestly examine themselves in the light of God’s Word to see where they stand. If they do this, many will probably not like why they see.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love the poem!! TOTALLY relate.

    I heard the following point made in a sermon last summer and I am still thinking about it: at the last supper, when Jesus said ‘one of you is about to betray me’ the disciples, (except Judas!), looked around at one another in shock and said, ‘surely not I, Lord?’

    It seems they were worried it ‘might be them’ who had done something wrong, which I think is where we need to remain–cautious and reflective and aware that we may fall into betrayal of Jesus ourselves. Rather than looking around to find ‘the real Judas’ amongst us.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Salt! That’s a cool way to look at it. We should try to maintain a healthy self-awareness and evaluate our own actions and motives instead of looking around to condemn others! In one way or another, we are all like Judas–trading our discipleship for something worldly.

      It reminds me of a good point about the parable of the Prodigal Son. Christians often see our role as the loyal son, but we should realize that we are all the wayward son also!

      Liked by 1 person

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