A young mother posted a picture of her little boy with icing all over his face on Facebook. She had made the cake for guests that evening and he found his way to it and helped himself. Her post had the laughing emoji faces and was so absolutely adorable. My first thought was how wonderful that she understands toddlers and isn’t bothered by this. My second was this will become one of those pictures that she will be able to use to embarrass him at some point in his life.
That was not the take about 40% of her viewers took. She was blasted for leaving him alone, allowing him to have that much sugar and even for exploiting her son for her personal gain by posting this photo.
Has our culture become so addicted to outrage that we can’t even enjoy a cute picture of a toddler doing those funny things toddlers do? We see this outrage addiction in politics, news, social media and apparently cute toddler capers.
“in the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, ‘Take these things away, do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.’” John 2:14-16
Jesus was outraged that the vendors were making a business out of worshiping God, the making of money became more important than the actual holiness of worship. Now that’s something to be outraged by, using the holy temple for worldly gain. Here Jesus becomes the refiner Malachi spoke about, bringing the holy back to the temple. (Malachi 3:2-3)
Today, maybe we could find something better to be outraged about than a Mom happily sharing her toddlers antics. Or here’s another idea, maybe we don’t get outraged at all. Because if we follow Jesus ministry, which was about serving and teaching, then we know how to prioritize our anger. Jesus was gentle in his teaching and selfless in his service. His time of outrage was only when the holiness of the temple was at stake.
The divided world we live in closes our ears and our hearts to any belief other than our own. We have closed our minds to other views and become self-righteous in our outrage. There is nothing gentle or serving in our thoughts or actions when we choose this course. Too often, the choice of outrage has mired Christianity in negativity, diminishing the magnitude of Jesus’ most humble act of love and redemption on the cross.
The life of Jesus is what holy looks like. If we can follow his example as best as we humanly can, we become the light this world needs, soothing the addiction of outrage with the balm of our gentle words and humble, serving hands. So when we, as children of God, see this addiction - we are answering with love and a humility that can only come from Jesus, and show the world the incredible gift of his sacrifice.