My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20
Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity, and especially for those in the household of faith. – Galatians 6:9-10
I’m so glad today is Sunday and I will be going to church this morning. Worship together is a huge dose of perspective in this culture that has, frankly, gone a little nuts of late in terms of losing focus and a sense of grounding. “We did not…” as any one of our mothers might say, “raise you this way!”
So here’s my suggestion: Okay, everybody, take a deep breath. Inhale, then exhale slowly. You can do it. Maybe take a hike around the block, jog, shoot some baskets. Chill.
Close your laptop, put down the phone, get up from your desk, step away from the computer, walk around the house. Whatever it is that has you so agitated, take a moment and talk with God about it. Because, if you really are genuinely upset, there’s nothing like an honest conversation with the Almighty to help take the spotlight away from ourselves and to put things into clearer focus; to reground.
Too many people seem to be constantly close to the edge of offended, upset, angry, bent out of shape – outraged and ready to blow. About to blow up over/at, well, pretty much nothing at all.
- Did you run across a meme that’s circulating some new lie or retelling an old one? Did you see a post on Facebook you feel is obnoxious or wrong? Why differ reasonably, using a respectful tone, when instead you can follow the national pastime of overreaction? Start down at the very bottom rung with insults and name-calling, eviscerate the person who originally wrote it, and attack the one who dared to share. Then maybe take a shot at both of their mothers for good measure!
- Did someone at work fail to properly acknowledge a project you completed? Or did you receive a routine email but you didn’t like the “tone” of the wording, and you imagined a subtext that wasn’t really there, so your hackles went up? Here’s an idea: how about getting upset, and fuming instead of asking for clarification? Or skip the preliminaries and just unload on the person who sent it!
Inflationary outrage that goes viral:
All this outrage, anger, and resentment living just below the surface – camped out like a virus waiting to replicate. It’s almost like being ticked off is our national pastime, maybe our national viral disease?
Here’s what happens when we allow overreaction to seep out where reason and moderation would be the more appropriate response: We get inflationary outrage. Indignation without the righteous part. Loss of moral integrity. And worse – broken relationships.
- Inflationary outrage.
- Indignation without the righteous part.
- Loss of moral integrity.
- And worse – broken relationships.
There is only one way this spiral goes. Unless that is we chose to be circuit-breakers and stop the replication cold. The good news is that it can be done. If enough of us refuse to participate, and respond with love and grace, then inflationary outrage doesn’t stand a chance.
Like any virus, extreme negativity needs a receptive host environment. And the Gospel, the good news of Jesus, is very clear about the whole light versus darkness equation.
So what do you say? Are you with me?
“Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity, and especially for those in the household of faith.” – Galatians 6:9-10