You’ve probably experienced the phenomenon of ‘selective outrage’ many times, and to varying degrees of impact. Imagine you’re a guest for dinner at the invitation of a couple, and as the meal is being served, the husband begins to overreact to the dry roast. He apologizes to you as he verbally jabs his wife for overcooking the roast yet again. For the rest of the evening, he won’t let it go, taking every opportunity to harass her. This is uncomfortable, you think. You try your best to diminish the offense by saying how much you enjoyed the meal, but no, he still won’t let it go. He’s locked in his outrage over the burnt roast and her habit of failure. He can’t see that, though the roast was a bit dry, his marriage is tragically on fire and burning down.
The thing about selective outrage is that most of the time it’s based on factual circumstances. Whatever the person, the culture, or the nation is outraged about, it actually happened. The problem is that it’s a true piece of the story, but it’s never the whole story. We extract a specific incident or wrong and then dump all of our outrage on that occurrence. It feels good to have unity and everyone agreeing with you as the mob marches onward to justice. Payback for that one instance, for the effect, but truthfully, we never touch the whole of the matter, you know—the cause—the root.
Moral armchair warriors sitting in their homes, their churches, and publishing their selective distaste for that sin. The problem is, you have zero credibility when you point out fraud on one page of the ledger but ignore the embezzlement on the previous page. Let me say it another way. We are no better than the hypocrites who attacked Jesus if we are outraged by the murder of a 21-year-old but vote for leaders that finance the murder of an unborn baby 21 weeks old. Our designer outrage is noted by God, but not how we think.
Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 23:23. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you give a tenth of your mint, dill, and cumin and have neglected and omitted the weightier (more important) matters of the Law—justice and mercy, and fidelity. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” We can’t just pick and choose when it comes to Truth. It’s the whole thing, or it amounts to nothing. Sin is sin. As a culture right now, we look at morality like it’s a pie, and you can just pick how big or small of a piece you want. Apple pie is really trending right now, so I think I’ll have a slice of that, but not too big. I want to always be moderate, you know. That’s fool talk, but sadly, this selective outrage is nothing new.
In Jesus day the religious leaders were totally outraged at the audacity of the Son of God healing on the Sabbath. This is outrageous! Look at exactly what they said in Luke 13:14. “But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the crowd, There are six days on which work ought to be done; so come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day.” Wow! Selective outrage so that everyone can see how moral and right with God I am.
I’ll say it again, sin is sin. We should hate it, but we should take personal responsibility for it and repent. The nation Israel was in captivity in Babylon because of their complete disregard for God’s laws and goodness. Daniel who was a very upright, and good man prayed this way on behalf of the people in Daniel 9 “O Lord ... we have sinned and committed wrong, and have behaved wickedly and have rebelled, turning away from Your commandments and ordinances.” Daniel wasn’t platforming and pointing his finger at the audacity of the Babylonians for taking the Israelites captive as slaves. He went to the root of the problem and basically said, “We’ve sinned.” Moses did the same thing many years before when God tired of the Hebrews rebellion. Moses who was considered God’s friend said, I’ll take responsibility for the whole pie - have mercy on us God.
Are you outraged by the senseless neglect and killing of animals? Then become outraged by the mass extinction of their owners. In the year 2000 the CDC reported about one million abortions in United States alone. Therefore in the year 2020 we are missing close to one million twenty-year-olds. Just imagine how many of them would own pets, feed them, walk them, and play with them. Be outraged by sin, but don’t you dare go designer on me. Don’t hate stealing because you lost your bike, but wink at getting drunk because you haven’t had your marriage destroyed or had your daughter killed by a drunk driver.
Jesus died on the cross for the entire package of sin, and the curse. Yes you should be angered by the effects of sin, but be outraged by the innocent Son of God dying for our guilt and shame. Be outraged enough to do something about it and honor Jesus by accepting Him into your heart. Do something about sin and make Jesus your Lord and Savior. When you change, suddenly the whole world changes.
Dear Lord Jesus I’m going to do something about the sin problem in this world right now. I’m inviting you into my heart to be the Lord of my life. Forgive me for my part of the sin problem in this world. I pray like Daniel did and say, “We have sinned .. have mercy on this world of hurting people.” Start right here with me Jesus. Help me and make me a blessing in this world. Guide me into obedience and fill me with joy. Where once I was outraged and filled with hypocrisy, now fill me with Truth and Your courage to love people. Help me to think like you Jesus. As a child of God I pray all this in Your Name ... Amen!
P.S. We have help and comfort for you in these challenging times. Please reach out to us at livingroomchurch.org. We have daily ministry gifts that’ll be a blessing to you, and we’d like to pray for you specifically about your needs. You are loved and we believe in God’s great plans for your life. God bless!
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