Thursday, December 5, 2013

Outrage is All the Rage

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

(James 1:19-20)

Outrage is hot right now. Especially on social media. Everybody wants to get in on the adrenaline train of self-righteous indignation. Videos, photos, links to news websites of questionable bias, petitions, fear-mongering end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it prophecies and environmental doomsday predictions, etc.
"You never see that on Facebook."
Said nobody ever.
And I'm not just talking about those posts -- you've all seen them -- where people say something about an issue near and dear to their hearts, and then, OUCH, the dagger goes in: they contemptuously suggest that only people who really care will forward their post to the entire world.

You know, the ones that say "99% won't care enough to forward this because you are heartless/don't love Jesus".

Followed by some passive agressive snarky threat (maybe the dreaded "block" or the ultimate weapon: "unfriend").

There is a weird subculture of outrage growing within social media. The attitude has been around far longer than the internet has existed -- there really is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9) -- but social media makes it so immediate, that sometimes it seems more prevalent. This passive-aggressive tendency, coupled with a sense of unaccountability (and anonymity) online, can feed the beast culture of outrage without even stopping to think about it.

Remember that little verse from James at the beginning of this post?
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."
There's a big difference between being passionate, and being passionately angry.

One means that you care, deeply care, about issues and people.

The other is a self-righteous counterfeit of outrage that negates the very righteousness that God calls us to walk in, and is trying to form within us.

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