Compass Resources for Surviving the Outrage Culture

America has an anger problem. Ed Stetzer, author of Christians in the Age of Outrage, says we have an “Outrage Culture”.  Outrage is easily found online or in media where someone is offended by an action or inaction that galvanizes cultural and political identity. Someone we know jumps on the bandwagon and, before long, we decide we need to stop eating there, not watch that movie, or not drink that drink.

Us vs Them

A recent example is the movie “The Sound of Freedom.” You may have friends who are encouraging you to watch, or not watch, based upon their cultural or political identity. What seemed to be a rather unimportant decision now has implications for your membership in your tribe.

Speed of Rage

Anger about such matters has been with us since Bible times. The speed of outrage has exponentially increased with 24-hour news channels and social media.  Who your friends or contacts are, what you like or share, etc. influences whether you are still in your tribe. Sticking with what your tribe does or does not do has increased in priority over matters of personal values and preferences.

What about Christ-followers?

We should not be shocked that those not trying to follow Christ are in the midst of stirring up division and easily finding outrage at every turn. What is shocking is that those who profess to follow Christ are also contributing to the rage culture. Too many of us sit behind the perceived safety of our keyboards and say things on social media we would never say in person.

Christ-followers’ participation in online outrage reflects individual character issues. But it most reflects a discipleship problem.

  • We think righteous indignation gives us a pass to engage in rage.
  • We prioritize our cultural or political identity above our identity in Christ.
  • We make being right more important than the mission Christ gave us.

Instead, Christ-followers online behavior should reflect:

  • The gospel of Christ over outrage. Mark 16:15
  • The Great Commandment above any ties or cultural or political identity. (Matt 22:37-39)
  • The Great Commission over being right. (Matt 28:19-20)

Three Questions Before Posting

Christ-followers should ask three questions before engaging within social media. Before you post, check your answers to the following questions.

  1. Is it in any way a distraction or contradiction to the gospel?
  2. Is it expressing love to all who can read it?
  3. Does it move people toward or away from knowing Christ?

Posts should be shaped by:

  • Gospel instead of outrage. Mark 15:18
  • Great Commandment instead of identity tied to culture or politics
  • Great Commission instead of being right

Being Christian isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. It starts with how we treat each other.

Ed Stetzer, Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center, stated:

“If we can’t disagree effectively with someone in our local church or faith group who is also committed to living out the gospel, how can we hope to productively engage someone whom the world assumes we hate? If we cannot demonstrate the humility and love necessary to listen to other perspectives within the body of Christ, we will never be able to engage those outside the church.”

“…clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12b

Challenge to Christ-Followers

Rick Warren challenged Christ-followers with the following: “If you’re going to call yourself Christian, you’ll do the right thing and be kind to everyone. If you’re not going to do the right thing, stop calling yourself Christian because you’re putting out false advertisement about who Christians are and giving the rest of us a bad reputation.”

Breaking Free from the Rage Culture

If you are caught up in the culture of rage, you have probably noticed the impact to your relationships, job performance, health and relationship with God. It’s time to take a hard look at yourself and begin a journey out of the rage culture. Crucible has helped thousands of men and women with their rage. You can start by attending a women’s or men’s retreat, joining a group, or signing up for a discovery coaching call.

Additionally, click here for a practical resource regarding anger management and road rage.