Your Outrage works against you

The world is changing. As it does, the most disturbing trend I see isn’t the change, but the outrage that seems to accompany it. You know what it looks like; you’ve seen it on the news and you’ve seen it in your News Feed. It’s not the indignant outrage that chases Kony from around the globe, but the impotent outrage that has no clear target.

Far too often, we don’t know what else to do. When we see something we don’t like, we get outraged. We’ve forgotten how to disagree without it. We’ve decided that anything but harsh condemnation equals wholehearted support. We read headlines, not news. We choose allies, not friends.

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But life is about more than what you’re for and who you’re against. Sometimes it’s about tempered mannered teenagers trying to figure out who they really are.

Unfortunately, outrage alienates. We give up our seat at the adult table when our position on something descends into outrage. No one wants to listen to what we have to say except our fiercest allies. We get shipped off to the kid’s table, with all the other outraged people, and the world continues to turn without us.

We’re caught in a cycle of being outraged at being alienated over our outrage.

We’ve got to break the cycle.  We can’t keep descending into two camps on everything, or else we are inevitably divided against ourselves. We can’t keep talking about grace if every disagreement is a war. It’s hypocritical.

Think about your agenda for a minute. Has outrage, particularly outrage directed at people — liberals, conservatives, gays, Christians, Muslims, gun owners, government — gotten you anywhere? Has it made your God any bigger, your cause any broader? If anything, it’s shrunken your agenda, and stuffed it into a little box labeled “stuff that outrages me.”

And come on. You know you’re more than that. Your beliefs and priorities and passions are more than that.  So choose to BE more than that.  Ask yourself: “Is my outrage alienating me from people who disagree?”

If you answered “yes,” then it’s time to break the cycle.

  1. Apologize today to someone you’ve alienated.
  2. Expose yourself to those who disagree with you and learn their POV (point of view).
  3. Write to me and let me know how that has changed your POV.
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