I am trying not to let those with the rant gene get under my skin.
In fact, I am getting rather good at spotting rants. They all have one thing in common—they are powerless to change me. In about two sentences, I can identify the direction and outline the arguments prior to the words exploding from their tongue or pen.
Most rants have little to do with truth while being highly seasoned with contrived argument to uphold the status quo.
I find the people with rant tendencies are normally people who practice rigidity in most areas of life. It is hard for their rant gene to allow the possibility of an alternant answer.
The rants of the religious most often appear to support the traditions of “their church.” Jesus’ values and the game changing cross seldom appear within the rant regardless of the defended subject.
One of my teachers from the past—who powerfully proclaimed Scripture from the pulpit—made the observation as to how closely doctrine was joined at the hip with those who paid the salary of the pulpit.
Obviously, not ever preacher succumbs to the temptation.
Years ago, a traveling companion and I encountered the late John Stevens at breakfast in a Nashville hotel. At the time, Dr. Stevens was serving as president at Abilene Christian University. My co-worker inquired of John how he handled the pressure of criticism as the university’s chief executive officer.
I will never forget his answer. “I do what I believe to be right and let the heathen rage.”
Were Dr. John living in today’s culture, he would probably have said, “I do what I believe to be right and let the heathen rant.”
My commitment is to promote peace and unity in the one church of Jesus. To do so I developed my own game plan to deal with divisive rants.
- I will follow the teaching of Romans 12:18,“ If it is possible, as far as it depends on me, I will live at peace with everyone.”
- I will remember that someone’s rant—although they may believe it to be gospel truth—is seldom the thinking of most folks and normally has little to do with gospel or truth.
- I will always ask myself, “Is this about truth or tradition.”
- God did not appoint me as assistant judge. Therefore, I do not have to answer anyone who is off on an opinion or a so-called doctrinal rampage.
- I will treat every Christian as my brother or sister in God’s family.
Like Dr. John—as he spoke tongue and cheek about the brethren—I too will let the heathen rage, because normally they are wonderful Christian people.
And, I will try to keep my own rants to myself.
Stay tuned. Gary J. Sorrells – On Cross Church.