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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

Selective Outrage by Pious People

In our world today there are many ills that can create a sense of outrage. These situations and circumstances present themselves daily, if not hourly.

Even as I write this there are heinous acts of violence being perpetrated on people that are creating pain and suffering. These acts lead many to being incensed by what has taken place, while leaving others confused and dismayed.

The problem is, the outrage represented in many of these situations is selective and is communicated by well intentioned, but pious people. I use the word pious because these people have found it easy to see the speck in someone else’s eye but they cannot see the log in their own eye.

This is nothing new for us as people since we all see ourselves much differently than we see others.

Our world has always had issues concerning humanity that give reason for outrage.

The all-consuming concern for self is a primary source of this outrage. What someone else does, says, or even the way they live their lives, can all be sources of this selective outrage.

The piousness comes when we see each issue as if we understand the problem and we possess the solution. Generally, the effort given to pointing out the reasons for our outrage increases the outrage in someone else.

Should we avoid cultural issues we are outraged by and passionate about? Perhaps not, but we must ask ourselves if we are able to apply the same empathy we may give to one outrage, to them all.

To live our lives in a way that points to Jesus and what He was outraged by is where we can find the answers to the concerns we may have. The commission to “love one another” is where we must begin. Instead of stoking the fires of outrage with our own views and opinions, perhaps we should start looking inward to see where the source of that outrage begins.

“Selective outrage by pious people” will only lead to more selective outrage by other pious people. It will never lead us to finding common ground.

Because, common ground can only be found at the foot of the Cross.

Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

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