Think about your job. I’ll bet you accomplish a lot there. But are you outraged? Or do you just know what you need to do and you do it? Think about other areas of your life— family, friends, volunteer work, hobbies: there’s not one where outrage is held to be a necessary precondition for showing up and making a difference. Just the opposite: if you had a coworker who was constantly enraged, you’d be apologizing for him to customers, avoiding inviting him to meetings, wasting time cleaning up the unconstructive messes that he makes.
So, our nation has problems and we have to work together to fix them. The need is urgent. There is no time to lose. How would you solve a problem like that at work? Would outrage help? No, it would get in the way. The universal embrace of outrage is why things continue to get worse in our country instead of better. And I’m not talking about “them”, I’m talking about us.
The Bible has been teaching this wisdom for thousands of years, yet Christians have forgotten it. We are as outraged as anyone in today’s society. We quote a handful of verses in which Jesus was angry but we reject the overwhelming testimony of his life and the direct urgings of scripture. Consider:
- A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger… The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:1-4)
- You who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently (Galatians 6:1)
- If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
- Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:8)
- Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God… Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. (James 1:19-26)
- Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. (Proverbs 22:24-25)
There are hundreds more and I could go on, but if I do this post is going to be really boring.
We are being told that the weak medicine of peace and grace and love for our enemies has no power to heal. We are being told that strong medicine in the form of outrage and hate will make us well.
It isn’t true. That “medicine” is destroying us. We cannot become well by increasing the dose. There is a medicine with the power to heal. How sick must we become before we are willing to take it?