Chanshi Chibwe on How to Follow Jesus’ Model of Righteous Anger in a Culture of Outrage

Unsplash/Jason Rosewell

Outrage. It’s everywhere, from everyone, every side—and it’s inescapable.

The extremism of our polarization has pushed us further into thought camps. People are only seeing and hearing from people who think exactly like them. Those who disagree get slammed—resulting in mile-long comment sections or even “unfollowing.”

Our “outrage culture” manifests in the vicious nature of people’s reactions to absolutely everything it seems. We see it in responses to current events, pop culture and even everyday people.

Christians are hardly innocent in the participation of outrage culture. It doesn’t take long to find aggressive commentary from people who share the same faith attacking an issue and even the people behind them.

Some may call it passion, but there’s an underlying, familiar sentiment—hate.

The question is, how do we as Christians engage in controversial dialogue today? If we are to be in the world, but not of it—where do we draw the line between rage and hate?

What does righteous rage look like? How do we express passion without compromising love?

If we take a look at the Bible, we find the original, passionate political whistleblower—Jesus.

Jesus as many of us know was a highly controversial figure. His teachings were so offensive the government and people conspired to kill Him for it.

One of the greatest examples of righteous rage displayed is Jesus entering the temple in Matthew 21:12-13.

“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

In Jesus’ day, the temple—designated as a place of worship—was being corrupted and used for the personal profit of the greedy few. Devastated, Jesus made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple courts. He famously “flipped the tables.”

He was unapologetic, decisive and strong-willed. There’s nothing mild-mannered about His response. What this is: a template for Jesus’ purposeful protest. What this isn’t: an excuse for Christians to pick fights in the online comment boxes.

If we’re to glean a healthy application of how to engage in our world it’s critical to observe these two factors about Jesus in this event:

1. Jesus was not a frustrated antagonizer, He was an unapologetic peacemaker.

It’s important that we observe the source of His rage. Jesus is outraged by the manipulation of the Jewish citizens. He was fighting to protect people without power in the church, the marginalized. Some may tense at the word “marginalized” with concern and think it’s another excuse for people to “cry victim.” But the reality is society hasn’t changed today—there are those with power and those without, simple as that. In this case, it was the Jewish congregants being used for profit in a place of worship. Jesus’ reasoning was a noble cause many can get behind. Flip the pages of the Bible, and the marginalized is a wealthy tax collector hated by society. Next, it’s a woman caught in the act of adultery—the absolute lowest notch on society’s totem pole whom Jesus dignified by equating her sin to the religious elite.

The purpose of His rage was always people, always love. Jesus did not make noise to be heard. He exhibited passion for a purpose and that was always for people. Ask yourself, who exactly are you fighting for?

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Chanshi Chibwe