As a culture we seem to be losing the art of nuance. Everything becomes either the best or the worst thing. We might inconsistently refer to things as our favorites or suggest we hate even that which we casually dislike. When we lack such verbal caution, our outrage becomes nearly meaningless and it can be hard to distinguish degrees of dissatisfaction. Nevertheless, I believe that which brings us to outrage even still can be revealing. Even those who lack a significant understanding of degree are still selective of that which they might rant about on social media or what they bring up in conversations. Our outrage and the degree to which we are outraged, shows what we care about. Our rants show our values. In some sense the old adage your checkbook reveals your heart is true. Perhaps though, your facebook rant may reveal your heart even more.
There are many things one might be outraged about; if you scan the editorial section of your local newspaper you’re bound to find impassioned articles concerning everything from proper varnishing techniques to the very existence of God. What one writes on raves about along with the passion one brings to such a discussion directly relates to the degrees to which we care about something. One would never find a president showcasing his favorite salad dressing in the state of the union. One couldn’t imagine The Economist would run a cover piece on the ideal seasonings for smoking a pork shoulder. We talk about, we write about, and most of all we become outraged about that which we care most about. Our outrage shows the beliefs that mean the most to us.
As Christians, we are people with well thought out values. Few are as concerned with intentional worldviews as devout Evangelical Christians. We now live for a kingdom that will last forever and that reality reshapes how we perceive the entire world around us. As Christians we have many things to feel strongly about and we even should at times express outrage. A Christian worldview even presents us with degrees of importance in our values. Al Mohler rightly talks about a theological triage wherein we ought to regard things like a Biblical view of the Trinity as of far greater importance than precise understanding of the end times. We should care about many things, but we should have a hierarchy of concerns stemming from a Biblical worldview. A Christian might (rightly) believe that tofu is disgusting; however Christians are to realize the reality of a lost world dying and going to hell is infinitely more disgusting.
Too often we as Christians waste all our outrage on that which in light of eternity is utterly insignificant and in this we show that which we really care about most. Not only does misdirected outrage fail to see that which is truly of significance, it can even distract the lost from that which we should care about most; the gospel. There is nothing wrong with feeling strongly about politics, opposing bathroom policies one feels are unsafe, or realizing bacon is the greatest food on earth. There is however, something very wrong with caring too much about those things, especially when we rarely extend such passion to things of eternal significance. We might care deeply about the best car manufacturer, whether or not people should be vaccinated, or varnishing techniques; but we must always treat them as insignificant next to eternal truths. Our problem is not that we have outrage, but it’s what we are most outraged about and what doesn’t really bother us as much as we would like to think.
How often does it passionately anger us that we continue to buy the lie that sinning is in our own best interest? I’m a selfish fool who sins daily and the reality is I’m not as broken by that fact as I can be angered over things that are frankly silly. How many of us are more bothered that a political candidate holds a certain view than we are burdened that our neighbors and coworkers don’t know Jesus yet? Be outraged. We live in a fallen world where all of us deserve the eternal damnation we will inevitably receive apart from faith in Christ Jesus. The creator of the universe is spit at by his very creation every single day and that includes ourselves. Christians have the only hope of salvation for our loved ones heading to hell, yet we would rather be liked than tell them the only truth that can help them. When we become more outraged about what’s talked about around the water cooler than what’s talked about in God’s word, let’s check our hearts. Maybe we are rightly outraged over a variety of things, but maybe our outrage shows us that our faith is far from the most important thing in our lives.