Log on to social media, and arguments over the issue of immigrant children fill at least half your newsfeed. Without getting bogged down in the details, I will say that I absolutely hate seeing children mistreated in any way. I get angry over injustice and oppression, whether of children or any other group of people.
But at the same time, I don’t know the whole story . . . do you?
Proverbs reminds us over and over that there are multiple sides to every story, and only the foolish refuse to seek out all the details before expressing an opinion. Further, there are many times when we simply can’t know all the details.
In this case, unless you are part of the actual problem (an illegal immigrant) or part of the proposed solution (the official administration), you cannot know the whole story well enough to be dogmatic about what the government should do, or how the people should act differently, or whatever opinions you have about the issue.
Yet people are getting upset, fracturing their relationships, and allowing arrogance in their own limited understanding to hinder them from showing compassion to their very-real neighbors. It’s right and good to get angry over injustice — after all, we read in Scripture that God gets angry over it too. Read Exodus or Deuteronomy. Read the Gospels. Read Revelation!
But how often do we slide from righteous anger into sin?
Righteous anger is good, but let’s be honest: we get far too dogmatic about our opinions, and tend to neglect the patience and compassion Christ commands towards all men — even when they disagree with you.
In our self-righteous pride we begin to spout off rashly, selfishly push people away, neglect wisdom and discretion and foolishly ignore any facts or views that don’t fit our theories.
Rather than learning from each other, and maintaining peace, and showing compassion on all people (not just those in our sights) . . . our anger turns to sin.
We get tunnel vision and focus so hard on the “issue of the day” that we start ignoring the ongoing battles playing out daily in our own neighborhoods.
- We get riled up over children at the border being separated from their parents . . . and forget about the children of fellow citizens who end up alone when their parents break the law and end up in jail.
- We cry about the horror of separating innocent children from their families . . . but ignore the ongoing adultery in our own communities that breaks up even more families than illegal immigration.
- We get outraged over children being abused or mistreated (and rightly so!) . . . but get weary of repeating the same concerns about abortion and the immorality that leads to it.
Where is the outcry over adultery and abortion in our newsfeeds? Where is the outrage over broken marriages and fractured families? Where is the anger over the habitual sin that breaks man’s fellowship with God?
If you feel compelled to speak out about current issues, that’s great! People desperately need to hear the voice of righteousness and reason. God’s love and light needs to be proclaimed over and over again to a broken sin-cursed world.
We need to speak up for the oppressed. We need to show compassion towards the “least of these” and care for “widows and orphans” in their neediness. We need to reflect God’s justice and care for those who are afflicted.
But we must not neglect the long-term battles we’re facing in our homes, on our streets, and in our local communities. We must not ignore those ongoing issues for the sake of jumping on the hot topic of the day. Most of all, we must not let our anger lead us into sin!
Whether we’re facing ongoing issues right in front of us, or discussing the latest headlines, we must not allow our passions to rule the conversations or our pride to decide the answers.
How do you balance anger over injustice with the need for wisdom, compassion, and understanding in your daily relationships and interactions?