Bob and Weave

Musings of an impostor. Welcome to the masquerade.

All the Rage

Posted by flyingbk on 11/09/2016

I’ll have a few thoughts on the election results tomorrow, but today I’d like to share a devotional I wrote for my church this past February. I think it’s quite fitting, whether you’re currently an angry American, or you’ve experienced anger during this year’s election cycle (so yeah, probably all of us).

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In our culture today, it’s become en vogue to become outraged about any little thing. If some news item is deemed “rage-worthy,” scores of people on Twitter, Facebook, etc. gang up on said person(s). It’s like a flash mob that’s competing against each other in regards to who can spew the most venom and vitriol towards somebody who, you know, just totally deserves it and had it coming.

Rage has become all the rage.

There are many problems with this aspect of our culture, but I’ll focus on two. Firstly, we’ve become a very reactive people. We immediately react to every single news update (I’ve been guilty of this too), and that is not healthy. No wonder Proverbs constantly reminds us: “Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools.” (16:22). Note: That’s a lot of prudence.

Secondly (stop me if you’ve heard this one), we’re all sinners. So even our heroes are highly flawed people. One case in point is what’s happening at Princeton University. Many people desire for Princeton to strip any reference to former president Woodrow Wilson because Wilson was a racist and segregationist.

Now, we shouldn’t minimize racism, and it’s easy to be cynical about the university administration’s response. But I believe it’s helpful here. The administration stated: “We owe a great deal to people who are deeply flawed, and not many people can transcend the prejudices of the times they lived in… We assess ourselves with great humility because we, too, are flawed, and it’s likely that we will also be guilty of sins and prejudices that to future generations who look back on our own legacies will be very obvious.”

The next time we gear up to throw a stone at somebody who has done something wrong or even rage and shame-worthy, let us take a second and pause. Let us consider how deeply flawed each of us are, and always reflect on our deep sinfulness first. Only then will we be able to approach the situation with a posture of gospel-infused humility. (This principle can also work really well in marriages and households.)

Cornelius Plantinga wrote: “Evil always appears in tandem with good… Good and evil grow together, intertwine around each other, and grow out of each other in remarkable and complicated ways.”

In conclusion: It’s complicated. Therefore, let us be wise and also ever gracious. Here’s Proverbs again: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (16:24)

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