By Tony Martin
The Baptist Record
In today’s world we are surrounded by outrage. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have made it easier than ever for people to express their opinions and emotions in real time.
As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves and seek peace in all circumstances, but now outrage seems to be the norm. Whether it’s social media or news outlets, individuals are quick to respond with anger and indignation over even the smallest issues.
This culture of outrage can ultimately divide us as a society, but as Christians we can take steps to move past it and find harmony.
Why it’s harmful
The first step is to understand what outrage is and why it’s harmful. It is a “feeling of anger or indignation caused by a perceived injustice or wrongdoing,” and a natural response to something we feel is unfair or unjust.
However, when outrage becomes a way of life it can be damaging to mental health and relationships. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy and start feeling outraged ourselves — even when we don’t fully understand the issue — which can lead to negativity, divisiveness and even hate.
So how can we move past this culture of outrage and find harmony?
Here are a few ideas:
Focus on empathy and compassion.
This is one of the best ways to move past outrage. When someone does something that offends us, it’s important to take a step back and try to understand where the other person is coming from.
Maybe they have a different experience or perspective we haven’t considered. Maybe they are struggling with something we don’t know about.
By focusing on empathy and compassion, we start to bridge the divide and find ways to work together toward a common goal. We can have productive conversations, listen to each other and find solutions that benefit everyone.
That’s actually what Jesus taught — to respond in love (and be sure to speak truth with compassion).
Practice self-care. We can limit our exposure to news and social media and focus on positive things. We can surround ourselves with people who lift us up and support us. We can find ways to take care of ourselves spiritually, physically and mentally.
Find common ground. It’s important to remember we are all human beings, with different experiences and perspectives. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we can respect each other and find common ground. By doing so we can start to build bridges and find ways to work together toward a common goal.
Engaging in constructive dialogue is essential to finding common ground and moving beyond outrage. It’s important to approach conversations with an open mind and a willingness to listen, just as Jesus listened to and engaged with people from all walks of life.
By sharing ideas and opinions we can come to a deeper understanding of each other and find solutions that benefit everyone.
Practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is essential to finding harmony. Jesus taught us to forgive others, even when it’s difficult. We must forgive those who have wronged us, and ask for forgiveness from those we have wronged. By doing so we break down walls of anger and bitterness and create an environment of grace and mercy.
Focus on positive change. Instead of getting caught up in outrage, take action to make a difference. Pray for leaders, volunteer in churches and communities and spread the love of Christ through acts of kindness and service.
By focusing on positive change we shift our attention away from the negative toward the positive, creating a more harmonious environment for ourselves and those around us.
Take action. Instead of just expressing outrage, find ways to reach out and make a difference. Volunteer, donate to and support causes in which you believe. By taking such action, we can bring about the positive impact we seek.
We are called as followers of Christ to respond to outrage with love, compassion and forgiveness, and set our focus on positive change. We can foster understanding and engage in constructive dialogue, even with those with whom we disagree. By doing so we create an environment of peace and harmony where individuals are encouraged to listen, share and ultimately find common ground.
Let’s work toward a world where outrage is replaced by love, compassion, forgiveness and service, and where the love of Christ is at the center of all we do.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was originally published by The Baptist Record.
Letters to the Editor
The July 27 Back to Campus issue was timely and full of helpful advice for the times we are living in. The editorial on navigating today’s technology by Carrie B. McWhorter was right on target. Thanks to the TAB team for all you do!
Pastor Philip Morris
Chulafinnee Baptist Church
Read your Aug. 3 Rashional Thoughts editorial about the process of decision-making and was reminded that we can always repair a squeaky wheel we still have. We sometimes tire of complaints but typically they come from a place of wanting us to do better, and believing we can.
Wholesome entertainment as outreach
By Brice F. Marsh
Member, Central Baptist Church, Trussville
Is it appropriate to schedule entertainment programs such as Christian comedians, bluegrass music groups or southern gospel quartets in the sanctuary of a church?
Since the interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, many faithful churchgoers have yet to return to regular attendance. Many newcomers to our neighborhoods and subdivisions have yet to be introduced to a new church home. And increasing numbers in the younger generations have never attended church at all.
Sadly, an invitation by a visitation team or an announcement of a revival is not likely to attract these people to come to church.
Having a program of wholesome entertainment to entice new people to visit our church is perfectly good, I think, in the sight of God.
Once they come and feel the warmth and love within our fellowship … they will be drawn to come back to worship with us on Sunday. Then God and the Holy Spirit can minister to them according to their spiritual needs.
We should demonstrate that our church is our happy place. They may be searching for a new happy place themselves.
And let’s not forget these entertainment programs are delightful to our members as well.
God gives us some guidance in Nehemiah 12:27. Regarding the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, Scripture says “they celebrated joyfully with singing, cymbals, harps and lyres.”
Philippians 4:8, Psalm 95:1 Genesis 4:20–21 also point to God’s gift of music and the things we should enjoy.
God has a sense of humor and we are made in His image. Let’s have fun in ways that will be pleasing to Him.
God is doing amazing work in small churches all across America. Souls are being saved. Marriages and families are being healed. Disciples are being made. God is doing work in places that don’t get tweeted about or podcasts recorded about.
Be encouraged. The gospel is on the move!
X (formerly Twitter)
“I was like, ‘I can’t stay here. I have to go!’ These are the people who need the gospel,” said Kareyn Hellman, a recent college graduate who is working with IMB missionaries to create content and strategies for using social media to connect with people in Buenos Aires.
“If Jesus can be stolen from in His ministry purse, any of our ministries can be,” said Nathan Salsbery, an executive vice president with the accounting firm CapinCrouse LLP. Salsbery during a webinar titled “Fraud Case Studies and Controls to Protect Your Organization.”
“It still all comes back down to the fact that we can do all this, but if we’re not teaching the gospel through it, we’re missing [the point],” said Nikki Young, who shared about the creative approaches of the children’s ministry of New Beginnings Baptist Church in Longview, Texas.
Keep studying Scripture. Don’t discount a book just because you think you know all the stories in it or have read it over and over again. There’s always something new for God to teach us through Scripture.
“Finding ‘new’ truth”
“We make disciples of Jesus who live on mission. That’s what we do. That’s all we do. Everything is for the sake of the gospel,” said Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director, national Woman’s Missionary Union, on the 135th anniversary of WMU.
“Sometimes we get so close to the religious work that our hearts can be far from the heart of Jesus, and we don’t mourn what Jesus mourns,” said Phil Waldrep, an evangelist from Alabama.
Satan “is blinding a generation to the truth of their identity. To reach them will take compassion,” said Katie McCoy, director of women’s ministry for the Baptist General Convention of Texas.