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Vital signs-Saturday, November 25th, 2023

It seems like all it takes to be outraged or offended is a quick scroll on social media. We see it throughout our feeds—friends fighting on Facebook, controversial news headlines, and families not speaking because of something someone posted.

And the truth is, outrage sells. Polarizing headlines get more clicks, so news outlets keep writing them. Cancel culture gets people talking, and that funds advertising revenue. 

So, what is it about outrage that keeps us engaged? 

We may not easily admit it, but many of us like being angry. We may not enjoy up-close conflict, but we often like taking a stance or choosing a side. 

As Christians, we sometimes even label our anger as “righteous,” excusing it when we think it’s for a good cause. And while righteous anger is a biblical concept, it’s worth asking ourselves: Is this anger of mine actually righteous, or is it a just an excuse for me to prove I’m right? 

Look at what James 1:19-20 NIV says: 

… 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. 

Some anger is good. When something hurts one of God’s kids, we should absolutely get angry. But that anger needs to lead to acts of love and compassion—not pride and division.

 Ultimately, godly anger prompts us to do something to help. Human anger prompts us to do something that hurts. 

So let’s think about our outrage for second. Is it possible that our anger is often fueled by pride? 

Because here’s the thing about anger: It often convinces us we’re right. And if we’re right, that means they’re wrong. And if they’re wrong, then we win. And that sense of winning—being on the right side or praising ourselves for our good behavior—really fuels our pride.

And like Proverbs tells us many times, pride always goes before destruction. 

So how do we respond to an outrage economy? How do we live as unoffendable people in a culture that profits and thrives on offense? 

James gives us some more good advice: 

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. James 1:21 NIV

Humbly accepting and living from the Word gives us the peace and the power to be different from the world. But it’s not just knowing Scripture—it’s doing what it says. 

Today, spend some time thinking about these questions:    

• Is my anger most often fueled by righteousness or my desire to be right?    

• Is my anger helping others or hurting others?    

• How often is pride the source of my anger? 

Pray: God, thank You that through Christ, there is no condemnation. Help me fully receive Your grace and mercy so that I can extend it to others. Reveal to me any areas in my life where I am harboring unrighteous anger, and help me lay it at Your feet. Purify me of anything that isn’t pleasing to You, and help me humbly accept and live from Your Word. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Team Wade loves you and is praying for you ❤️👊

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