A Handy Guide To Christian Outrage

By the looks of the articles running across social media, there are lots of reasons to be outraged today. Allow me to list a few:

  • Common core standards
  • Corporate greed
  • Taxes
  • Obama
  • Bush
  • Fat-free Oreos

But that’s just the mainstream stuff. If you’re a Christian, the list gets longer. Muslims are trying to build mosques in your neighborhood and take over America. Christians are being persecuted as prayer is removed from schools. The Ten Commandments aren’t allowed at the courthouse.

Feeling outraged yet?

In the past few days, two topics have been particularly outrageous to Christians on the web. One has been the “Non-Biblical” Bible movie, Noah. The second is the decision by the children’s charity World Vision to permit the hiring of employees who are engaged in same-sex marriages, and their reversal of the decision 48-hours later.

The virtual ink devoted to these two stories could fill a hundred virtual swimming pools.

Outward. Rage.

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* Here’s your handy guide to Christian outrage!

As I read all of the stories, I can’t help but think that Christians (myself included) have monumentally misplaced our anger. Like misplacing your car keys. In your dress pants. In the suitcase. That the airline mistakenly sent to Mongolia.

I’m not saying people aren’t allowed to be angry. It’s a perfectly normal human emotion. I’m not even saying anyone has to change their beliefs. Though, for the record, I doubt a single person will renounce Christianity because of a movie. And if any charity has to fire every employee who has “sinned” based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, they’ll probably be down to a single staff member.

His name is Jesus. He works in building maintenance.

What I am saying is this:

I fear we are so focused on defending the Bible that we have lost sight of Christ.

Don’t get me wrong, I am deeply convicted by my faith. It grounds me. It comforts me. It defines me. But that becomes a problem when I forget that I am but one man. In one religion. That has over 41,000 different Christian denominations. Expecting the world to conform to my interpretation of ancient writings is a recipe for failure. No matter how loudly I thump on The Book.

If our goal is to demonstrate God’s love and help others find that same love and comfort in the faith, outrage just doesn’t work. It’s like choosing a guy with a really loud, whiney, high-pitched voice as your corporate spokesperson.

But the problem is bigger than bad marketing.

When this…

Image

Generates more outrage than this…

Image

And this…

Image

Generates more outrage than this…

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We ignore the Christ we profess to follow.

I’m certain that many of you will say it is our duty to defend the Bible. It is the Word of God. And any attack on the Word is an attack on God, right?

I don’t think you’re giving an all-powerful God enough credit. He’s not your kid brother.

But there are times when outrage is appropriate. Even Jesus showed outward rage.

A “hangry” Jesus got mad at a fig tree when he walked by and noticed it bore no fruit. He overturned tables like Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse, outraged with the money lenders turning a temple into a strip mall. He expressed outrage toward anyone who would harm a child, sounding a bit Tony Soprano-like when he said they would be better off sleeping with the fishes.

But it is safe to say Jesus saved his most outward displays of anger for the self-righteous. The Pharisees and Sadducees knew the law and boasted of sinless perfection. They dubbed themselves the celestial scorekeepers here on earth.

Jesus called them blind guides.

Fools.

Hypocrites.

A brood of vipers.

Whitewashed graves. Clean on the outside but dead within.

Don’t sugar-coat it Jesus, tell us how you really feel.

When we show self-righteous outrage toward those that don’t subscribe to our way of thinking, we run the risk of earning these names for ourselves. All of us noticing the speck in anothers eye yet ignoring the log in our own. Recall what Jesus told his closest buddies the first time he sent them out. He told them to heal, cure, and comfort, proclaiming God’s name along the way. And he added,

“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” (Matt 10: 14)

Sounds harsh, right? But he doesn’t add, “And leavest thou a flaming bag of poo on their doorstep, and drape their olive trees in Charmin.”

Jesus is telling us to let it go. Self-righteous outrage is not worth the trouble. If judgment is to come, let Him be the sword. Meanwhile, save your words. They hold little value anyway.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,you did it to me.’ (Matt 25: 31-40)

God doesn’t want your words. He wants your life. And he sent us his Son to show us how to live it.

So my prayer today is that we transform our outer rage into inward action. To feed the hungry. Heal the sick. Aid the defenseless. Advocate for those on the margins.

And trust that God will take care of the rest.

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56 Comments

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56 responses to “A Handy Guide To Christian Outrage

  1. I like what you said about us thinking we have to take up for God like he is our kid brother. I have said this before…God can handle this. Man had ebbed and flowed to and away from God since …..since. It is the way of the nature of sin…God can handle it.
    And I agree that while we are protecting God on public buildings, we are taking our eye off the ball – our true calling…not to change government but show others Christ in us and let Christ change others and others will then change the government.
    And sometimes I think that we want to have righteous anger toward something outside us to avoid working on t the condition of our own heart toward God and other.

    • “sometimes I think that we want to have righteous anger toward something outside us to avoid working on the condition of our own heart toward God and other.” Amazing point Marvin!

  2. Sandi Hampton

    Thank you for your words of wisdom, common sense and humor. I’m so glad I have subscribed to your blog. I actually read it.

  3. Susan Miles

    And God’s people say, “Amen.”

  4. You express this issue so well. Thank you.

  5. Jill Dusing

    Your insights are so inspiring and refreshing….thank you! I look forward to what comes next as I am enjoying reading past blogs.

  6. This is excellent. And I need to hear it myself, over and over.

  7. Oh Scott! I just LOVE this! And I love you for writing it and sharing it with the world! As Bonnie said (above) Yes, yes YES!!!

  8. Sarah

    Thank you! For years I have been puzzled and saddened that many Christians seem to care about only a couple issues – homosexuality and abortion. I hope with people like you bringing attention to this will widen the eyes amd hearts of others. Keep up the good work

  9. Randy Buist

    Another great article. Thanks.

  10. I was thinking what a perfect marriage of wisdom and humor this is and then I wondered–should it be legal for marriage and humor to marry?

  11. Sonia

    100 times YES! Your words just spoke my feelings. YES!

  12. 1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)
    But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

    First, in order to stay focused on Jesus, we need to defend the purity of Scripture, because it is the Bible which reveals Him. In fact, the Bible is His only perfect witness.

    John 5:39
    39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

    If the Bible gets compromised, so does Jesus. Therefore, we should adamantly speak out against anything that compromises it. It’s amazing how much attention the New Testament writers paid to correcting false doctrine, it dominates their writings. Yet today we are just told to let it go. That’s wrong.

    The philosophy of the author of that article is to forget the different beliefs and just demonstrate “love”. I’m not sure he really knows what love means. Good works alone will never lead someone to Christ, they must actually hear the Word (and that Word needs to be correct).

    Romans 10:17
    17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    Of course, anger is often justified and necessary, as the Bible points out. We just need to be sure not to misuse that anger, and allow the anger to control us.

    I think the bottom line is that Christians have the absolute truth of the Word of God, and we should be the most dogmatic people of all.

    http://blog.itsgodsword.org/2011/06/27/dogma/

    • I’d like to apologize for this particular statement “I’m not sure he really knows what love means.”

      My poorly worded point was that true love does not ignore someone’s sin, neither does it condemn them. True love acknowledges sin, and tries to help a person out of it. That requires the uncompromised use of the Word of God.

      • Fiona

        Isn’t God love?
        God loves us despite our sin. He loved us first. He didn’t point the finger at us! So, I disagree that ‘true love does not ignore sin’. That is a statement often used in Church with the result of shaming a person to admitting their sin.

      • Yes, God is love, and holy, and just, and righteous. Yes God loved us first. Yes God loves us despite our sin, in fact He is not content to leave us in our sin. He works to transform us into His image. Jesus didn’t tell the adulteress to continue in her current lifestyle, He said to go and sin no more. To say God didn’t point the finger at us is akin to saying that He overlooks our sin. Where in a Scripture do you find such a notion? When did Jesus ever ignore a sin? When did any of the apostles or Old Testament prophets ever ignore sin? In order for people to know they need a savior, they need to know they are lost. I don’t say that it’s our Job to “clean people up”, that’s the work of a Christ, but people must know that they are lost. Otherwise, they will never go to Christ for cleansing. We certainly have a Biblical mandate to warn people.

        Ezekiel 33:8-9 (NKJV)
        When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die! ’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.

        Even Jesus Himself tells us to address sin.

        Matthew 18:15-17 (NKJV)
        Dealing with a Sinning Brother
        15 “ Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. ’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

        The goal should never be shame or condemnation, but repentance and restoration. One should always realize that they are a sinner before confronting another. That helps to maintain a humble attitude.

        Ask yourself, is it very loving to simply ignore and allow someone to continue in destructive behavior, without even trying to stop it? Of course not. Suppose you are camping beside a river, and you notice a man rafting down that river. You know that there is a waterfall ahead, and if he continues on his course, he will fall to his death. Do you talk to him about the joys of camping, or do you warn him to turn around?

        Do you teach your children right from wrong? Do you punish or correct them when they do wrong? Why? Because you love them and want what’s best for them. None of us will ever be perfect as long as we live in this sinful flesh, but we can be forgiven. But if a person doesn’t know that they are a sinner, they’ll see no need to ask forgiveness.

        Jesus always addressed sin, God never overlooks it. All sin will be dealt with, either on the cross, or at the great white throne. The result of the great white throne judgment is hell, and I want to help as many people avoid that as possible.

      • To admit our sin is crucial.
        1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
        If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  13. Crystal Laxson

    I totally agree! We are here to love EVERYONE as ourselves. We need to realize that just as we make mistakes and do wrong so will others, but it’s not our place to judge their choices. We are here to love everyone unconditionally even those that do things we don’t agree with. Thanks for writing this article!

  14. Annette

    Brilliant!

  15. Fiona

    Fantastic post. I have been having the same thoughts this week.
    Christians do not need to do Gods work for Him. I think we forget that the battle is already won. Let’s start trusting God more and our own works less. Let us love more as He did. Let’s concentrate more on our own actions rather those of others! Believe it or not, God can handle things:)

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  17. This is a great blog… One of my favorites! Well said!

  18. Thanks! I needed this.

  19. Jeff Dutra

    I agree with this perspective to a certain degree. However, in my 32 years of serving Christ I have come to realize that we Christians often have a tendency to gravitate toward extremes. We can either be extremely legalistic, and beat people up and condemn people with Truth, which usually doesn’t cause many to want to follow Christ, or we can be extremely tolerant, and choose to not uphold Truth, and fail to let people know that there’s a reason we need the Savior; we’re ALL sinners; you, me, the gay married couple, the cheater, the self-righteous, etc. I believe that between the two extremes that I’ve mentioned is probably the better place to be. It’s not being afraid to take a stance for righteousness when it’s needed, recognizing that this is at least in part what it means to be the salt of the earth, but it’s also being willing to extend the unconditional love of Jesus to sinners in the midst of their sinfulness, and actually being like Jesus, a friend of sinners, and interact with them in a way that demonstrates the heart of God toward them. I don’t believe we have to choose to either take the hard line approach to upholding Truth, or the weak approach which never stands for or against anything. I think we can and need to do both, and the Holy Spirit will guide us into the appropriate approach to take depending on the situation and the people we’re relating to. As it says in Galatians 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” There was one thing mentioned in this article that concerned me, but it’s possible that I misunderstood the intent behind the statement. You referred to those who interpret Scripture literally, as though that’s a negative thing. Granted, much of Scripture if figurative, but generally speaking, to not take a literal approach to interpreting Scripture is a dangerous and harmful approach to take. If that was not the intent behind that statement then it may have not been worded in the best way, but if that was the intent, I couldn’t disagree with you more. One final observation about the pictures that were posted with this article that showed what Christians get upset about: when it comes to the concern over the compromise of Biblical Truth and righteousness, or the concern over the hungry and the hurting in the world, does it really need to be either or, or is it possible to be like Jesus, Who stood for Truth and righteousness AND demonstrated love and compassion for human suffering? When Christians start being a little more balanced in our approach to a lost and dying world, we’ll start seeing God’s Kingdom advance in the hearts of those He laid His life down for.

    • SaltedEarth

      Agree with everything you’ve said here. That pocket in the middle of the two extremes is hard to find and is criticized by both sides, but I believe it’s where we will find rest. If no one stood against unrighteousness and the self-fitting interpretations of the Bible, we would all be doomed. Alternatively if no one stood up and fed the hungry, we would be living a faith without love, which is not good either. I was hurt by a lot of the generalizations posted in the decision-tree picture, and it’s just ammo for the self-righteous, do-not-speak-out-because-that’s-intolerant Christians to re-post on Facebook and say “see Christians, you’re doing it wrong” …. a post like that is actually what led me here.

  20. Johseff chalker

    It think those pictures from the article are a pretty inaccurate account of the truth considering most of the organizations feeding the third world countries are Christians and most of the homeless shelters are also christian groups.but the truth of the matter is; If Christians don’t stand up for their beliefs in the public eye and in politics their rights will be takin away. You can tell Someone “Jesus loves them” and they can consider you a self righteous jerk and a judge. The point I’m trying to make is you can’t be a Christian without opining your mouth. And if you do open your mouth you will be judge.

    • Ted Lundquist

      For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges…Corinthians 5:12-13

      • Johseff Chalker

        Matthew 5:14-16
        Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
        15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

  21. SaltedEarth

    I get the idea you’re going for here, but there are a lot of generalizations in your article. As far as the outrage guide goes, one decision point says 80% of Americans are Christian and 90% of Congress. Are you suggesting that if people call themselves something it’s automatically true and should be used for statistics? You’re joke in the picture about N. Korea- it’s funny to you that the N. Korea government is set to execute 33 Christians for taking money to set up underground churches? The bible says we are to be like a city on a hill. If we internalize our faith, we accomplish nothing. Some Christians do go overboard with their outrage, but being angry at sin is the Holy Spirit working in us.

  22. jonnia smith

    from Micah 6:8
    “And what does the Lord require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.”

    I’m not sure it is even possible to be worked up into a frenzy of righteous outrage and still be even attempting a humble walk alongside the Father.

    Speaking out is one thing. Railing and ranting crosses over into something that looks a great deal like personal pride.

  23. Nice post! I’ve spent too much of my morning immersing myself in all variety of these outrages online. My disagreement with your observation is that you have been too kind in your thesis. I believe (at least for myself) the outrage doesn’t come from an altruistic desire to “defend the Bible”. Rather it is more selfish and rooted in a sinful desire to prove myself right when everyone else says I’m wrong. If we truly believe the Gospel is the Truth (ALL OF IT…not the portions that are easy for us) then it isn’t up to us to convince, cajole, scream, ignore, boycott, or whatever tactic we choose to “make our point”. Truth wins. If only we could communicate that like Jesus.(You know, expressing love even though it literally costs us everything.)

  24. No, he didn’t send his son down from eternal glory to show us how to do it. He wasn’t just an example. He did it for us because we are so lost and dead in our sins. His life, his actions, his faith, his willingness to be a sacrifice for payment of sin. His death and resurrection giving up victory over dreaded death. His power has become our power, the Holy Spirit living in us. Day after day the homosexual agenda is in our face with those wanting to change our thinking I will stand firmly against it because I love the homosexual. They must be told the truth. Every sinner should be told the truth! Homosexuality doesn’t come in a neat little package! They’re deep issues withinl Much dishonesty, fear, mistrust, unfaithfulness, sexual addictions and on and on, It’s a very dark lifestyle made to look just fabulous. To be a true Christian in this world takes a lot of prayer. We are looked down on, made fun of, and accused of drinking the kool-aid, We are far from persecution today. Gettifng digs here and there is nothing compared to whats to come. Love comes in my different forms. Somtimes it doesn’t look like love. We are soldiers of the cross. We must tell the world that God hates sin and our loving God is coming soon and will clean me and this world up…and he will be angry while doing the great cleanup

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  28. Kim

    Thanks for putting into words what I have been trying to process for the past couple of weeks.

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  30. Thank you for a common sense response to the so called outrage you mentioned. I am certainly not here as God’s “enforcer”. I am a broken sinner just like all of us since the fall.

    It is so easy to keep a sin scorecard and know at least that our sins are not as bad as others which is just nonsense.

    The great commandment is to love God with all our hearts and souls and the second is to love others as ourselves. That does not mean to me that I can judge other’s sins but instead am commanded to love them despite our sins.

    It is tough, yes we have moral guidelines as prescribed in the Bible to guide us but it is not for us to use the book as a weapon but rather as a comfort. In meantime, focus on the fact that none of us is worthy of salvation it is given to us by grace alone.

    Be outraged at poverty, at hunger, at social injustice. Stand firm in our faith.

  31. diane

    Very well said. Thank you.

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  33. Dawn

    Amen, Brother!

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  35. Cindy

    So glad to discover your blog. Keep sharing such good food for thought.

  36. I have read so many articles or reviews regarding
    the blogger lovers however this post is actually a fastidious piece of writing,
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  37. Thank you for stating what I have been thinking for years since ‘coming back to the church’. I have to keep reminding myself I came back to God the father and his son Jesus …. NOT the church which tries to drive me away with it’s misplaced dogma … when we, as a people, should be overflowing with love.

  38. I agree -mostly. I do believe the outrage must come well before we get to the bottom of that slippery slope! In the last year since you wrote this we have certainly slid a down it an uncomfortable distance.

  39. Thank you for your words of wisdom in a nation that thrives on righteous outrage!

  40. Geneve hornbuckle

    I will only say this. This is amazing. This site has got people talking and doing so ” actually thinking on these things.” That’s is what we’ re suppose to do. Then comes bible reading and prayer. Then witness in any way you can. With love and caring actions. You don’t have to agree and you don’t have to change your beliefs. Just pray and let God lead. Trying to change others into your way of thinking only appears to show your weakness in your own beliefs. You don’t have to validate your beliefs by how others feel about it. Only how God feels about it. If you are praying every day God in his time will let you know what’s right. But us giving our oppinion here is not as important as actions. So I must stop now and find out what God wants of me from my own post. God bless all and prays to you.

  41. Reblogged this on ~Taken by the Wind~ and commented:
    This. I love all of this. It so wonderfully captures so much of my own personal feelings and thoughts as a Christian. I highly recommend the read.

  42. Kelly

    Thank you for such a profound reminder of what we as Christians should be doing. Amen and Amen.

  43. Arról már nem is beszélve, hogy a legnagyobb seedesek az országban vannak és ha az oldal mint maga Amerikában is van, a nagyobb seederek leÃoscpalk¡sa után az oldal is megszűnik, mert nem lesz, aki feltöltsön friss cuccokat. A másik meg az, hogyha külföldön is van a szerver, a tulajdonosai belföldön vannak és Å‘k ugyanúgy sebezhetÅ‘k megint csak.

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