We’ve all experienced outrage culture in some form, haven’t we? If you’ve been on any type of social media it’s kind of hard to ignore. The term tacks on “culture” to the outrage because it is so pervasive. A person shares an opinion and suddenly people are compelled to jump on them, and in a flurry of hastily typed words there’s the equivalent of a slap fight.
But it can be more than that; road rage anyone? How about our sporting events, like the latest headline grabber; Kassian vs. Tkachuk in some hockey action. The thing is this culture grows with “views.” How many people are watching, what do people want to see, how far can it go? Take the hockey incident; hockey is one sport where people watch the matches expecting to see a dust up. We go on Facebook or Twitter and are on the look out for some verbal sparring, or we post something that we know might stir the pot. How many likes can we get, how do we react to that little laughing emoji, do we push people’s buttons because we actually believe it can make them change?
What are we, as Christians, called to do about all of this? Anything? Where is the line drawn since we are to be in the world but not of it? Also, I’m not doing as some and suggesting that people shouldn’t share their opinions on important topics like politics or religion… obviously not since that’s kind of what this blog is about. We are taught directly by Christ in scripture to turn the other cheek. So, if someone is simply goading us or insulting us then perhaps we should be more inclined to let it slide vs. Christ’s example of turning over the table of the money lenders in the Temple.
With sports as well; it is better that mankind work out some violence with sport than with war, but what of violence within sport itself? Do we, as believers, support more violent pastimes, or find our entertainment and exercise elsewhere? I don’t think a particular sport, such as hockey or boxing, is inherently evil, not at all, but perhaps we should expect more from participants of our chosen sport.
Words are better than physical wounds, but we also know that the tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21), so maybe a Christian response is more one of thoughtfulness than silence. If people would take a second and ask themselves if what they are trying to add to a conversation is actually productive, perhaps that would help. It’s also true that we can simply put an informed opinion out there without then engaging in a meaningless back-and-forth for the fun of it. Every now and again, we should listen more than we speak.
Matthew 12:36 informs us that we will give an account of every idle word on the day of judgement. For those of us who believe such things, it should give us at least a moment’s pause. I’ve been “guilty” of the pull of outrage culture, and that verse in Matthew does spring to mind but perhaps not often enough. We’re called to be peacemakers with truth and love, never at the expense of either. Just something to ponder.