Well, we did it.
We made it through this Christmas without a major national brouhaha erupting about a not-holy-enough red cup, banned lyrics at a school play, or a disallowed manger scene.
So let's keep it up, shall we? Let's resolve to go through the coming year determined not to be so easily offended anymore.
Christians should be some of hardest-to-offend people in the world. Because we should be like Jesus.
We should reserve our outrage for truly offensive things. Like cruelty and hypocrisy. And for the real persecution being faced by believers and non-believers in places like Syria and Iran, while the world sits and does nothing about it.
The Power of Not Being Easily Offended
When we spend our anger on trivial things, we lose the opportunity to be taken seriously when truly horrible things happen.
Here's something we never hear, but should. "Hey, those Christians never seem to get upset, no matter what we throw at them, but they're really angry about how many kids in our city are going to bed hungry tonight. Maybe we should listen and help them change things."
But it shouldn't be.
Instead of crying about the offenses against us (both real and perceived), what if we made more noise about offenses against others?
What if we took Jesus' admonition to turn the other cheek seriously – even scandalously so?
Want Your Outrage to Be Effective? Focus It
Do we want to be seen as a strong church again? A vibrant church? A 'gotta respect them even if we don't like them' church? Let's start by focusing our outrage on the things that really matter.
Not for protests against Hollywood for another dumb movie or TV show (coming in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...), but for real offenses. Offenses against the people Jesus commanded us to protect, even at the cost of our own comfort and safety.
As the church, we are called to bear our cross – and alleviate it from the shoulders of others.
Let's get outraged on behalf of the poor, the orphans, the widows, the abused, the refugees and the outcasts.
Jesus got angry. But he used it surgically. He used it when people attacked others, not when they attacked him. And he told us to do the same.
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