I know that's a very odd question. Hear me out! I've been enjoying one of the features on my Ipod Touch - which is the ability to watch TV programmes in high definition and one of them is the "Sarah Connor Chronicles". One of the key characters is a female robot (pictured) and I found myself musing on the benefits of having absolute control over emotions. Being able to make clinical judgements and not being affected by emotions or affections. Funnily enough another film I quite enjoy focuses on a world that has alienated emotions called "Equilibrium". The intentions of such alienation are that emotions are dangerous and create war - which of course is true. But the film graphically highlights how boring and dull a world is without the benefits of emotions - love, romance, joy, tears.
I have been having a rubbish week to put it mildly. Maybe some of you remember I hinted at some serious problems with my former employers - Acorns Children's Hospice. I had to leave due to homophobia among the staff and am currently enduring an extremely prolonged grievance process which inevitably is looking like it will have to be followed by an employment tribunal. It's particularly difficult because as a Christian (still struggling with Old Covenant legalism) I feel guilty for having those feelings anyway and in some strange sense - almost like the homophobic members of staff are justified in treating me as they did. Those set free 100% by grace won't understand a word I just said there - but maybe those still struggling like me will!
Anyhow the first part of the internal investigation arrived earlier this week and a key piece of evidence was based on the final meeting I had with the Head Nurse (my line manager) back in January. She tried to persuade me that this meeting was an "informal, nice" meeting and one that was designed to get me back to work after I had been off ill. Fortunately I took along representation but the meeting was not minuted. As she had no strategies or ideas to deal with my difficulties at Acorns and due to some other information she gave me I felt I had no alternative but to resign. I told the grievance hearing this.
I found to my dismay and shock that the Head Nurse had blatently lied in her meeting and said that she had said something totally different and this could be "substantiated by minutes". Minutes I should add most certainly were not taken during the meeting! So my only conclusion is that she wrote these minutes sometime after my meeting and to which I was never sent a copy. Sadly the so-called Investigating Officer didn't bother to interview my representation to verify the difference of opinion and took the Head Nurse's word for it. So a decision has been made against me - based on a lie.
My point in all this - I have been scared once again by the anger and the rage that I got consumed with by the fact that this woman (a manager allegedly responsible for her staff) lied to protect her own back. I understood why Jesus said in the New Testament that if you felt anger towards someone that much (under Old Covenant law) you as good as murdered them already.
And here's the point where I truly wished that I could be a robot and switch that anger off! It reminded me unhappily of a few years ago when I felt the same anger and rage towards my parent's SGM pastors for the lies and the behaviour they exhibited.
So where does the message of grace fit into all this? How does allowing the gospel of grace to reign in my life change this? As regular followers of my blog know it took me 2-3 years to even come close to forgiving the SGM pastors (and I still won't go near that church). That can't be God's ultimate design or His best surely! To be consumed by anger! This time I want to learn! I texted Pete Day this morning and said pretty much the same thing. I can't and won't afford another 2-3 years of hating Acorns and the lying management there. I have got better things to do with my life!
So here's a few reflections on how grace changes utterly EVERYTHING!
1. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (!!!).
So I shouldn't feel guilty and condemned for feeling angry whatsoever. God sees me as 100% ++ clothed, robed and in the righteousness of His one and only Son so therefore He does not hold my anger against me! I have not murdered anyone because of my rage - I am free, innocent, loved and accepted!
2. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (!!!).
So it doesn't matter that the Acorns management lied to make themselves look better and myself look worse. The only opinion that matters is God. He knew the truth while I was an employee there. He knows the truth now. I won't try and pretend that I have "forgiven and forgotten" when I haven't - because even though I may deceive you the readers of this blog - I am typing it in the Presence of the Holy Spirit! I live for the Audience of One!
It was being accused by a so-called friend of immoral behaviour that made me realise that actually there is no benefit to trying to make myself look good in the eyes of Christians. It was that accusation that actually made me write my testimony thus far! So I am not about to change now and pretend I am not angry! Because God knows and accepts me despite!
3. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (!!!).
It is the very fact that I am seated on high with Jesus Christ that gives me hope that I do not have to resign myself to another 2-3 years of trying to swallow bitterness and pretend that everything is "fine" when it is not. No! The very awesome truth and revelation that I am totally 100% accepted in heaven and the unfolding revelation and realisation of what that actually means is going to change me and is going to transform me without me having to lift a finger!
I used to be very much in the Puritan tradition of "mortifying sin" - but clearly I wasn't very good at it. Because I don't think anyone actually really knows "how-to" mortify sin! And now I realise that actually there's a far better way.
"Holiness has got NOTHING to do with sinning or not sinning! If that is what we think, then we think WE are the cause of our holiness and I am telling you there is only ONE Person who is the cause of our holiness and His Name is Jesus Christ!
If you are in Him, then YOU ARE HOLY! You don't have to try and be holy or get holy - you ARE holy!"
Once we start realising that fact - that we are holy, we are accepted and can come boldly into the throne room of heaven then suddenly EVERYTHING changes! Not only did I feel guilty before that I had this uncontrollable rage against these people but I felt doubly guilty that I was doing such a bad job of mortifying that rage! And then I felt angry that I was so useless at mortifying anger and felt guilty at that anger against that anger! And so on! The perils of living under law!
Now I can release them. And even as I type this I feel actually quite sorry for these individuals. This woman who felt she had to lie to protect herself, her reputation runs in fear clearly. Because she knows that the truth will come out one day.
4. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (!!!).
And lastly because I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus I can feel angry at what they have done just as it was okay to feel angry at the SGM pastors for what they did. They were all individuals in places of responsibility and were responsible for people and they all abused that trust. And that was wrong! But that's where my anger can finish and I can let it go! Because as Rob Rufus said in his sermon last Sunday;
"Don't give these people the power over your life to make you angry!".
They aren't worth it! To be angry is to admit that these people matter whereas indifference is surely the more appropriate response! And (I may be wrong here) but I also feel that because I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus I should not feel guilty for allowing the employment tribunal process to go ahead. It doesn't matter what the issue was - employers don't have the right to treat any employees as they did and that should be addressed. Externally if they will not admit it internally.
So I praise God for my emotions! I praise God for joy and laughter and angry and crying and sadness. They are God-given and given for a purpose for His glory and for His praise! And because I am clothed and robed in His righteousness I can sit and rest absolutely secure this morning that He will mould and form and make my life into what He wants in His timing. There is no ridiculous talk of "just get over it" from Heaven this morning! Just love and acceptance!
Do I want to be a robot? I did last night - but now? No way!