Selective Outrage

Have you ever noticed that sometimes people become irate over what a particular person or group does, but they ignore the same actions when others (who are usually in their circle) do the same thing? This is called “selective outrage,” and it often happens in politics, when one party does something, and the other party becomes outraged. Then the same outraged people “turn a blind eye” when someone on their side does the same thing that had previously caused them to get outraged. News networks leaning to the right or left may vilify someone on the other side of the aisle, while remaining silent or even defending someone on their own side who is doing the same thing the network had previously condemned.

Ultimately, our Creator has the final say on what is right and wrong for all men, and on the last day He will judge every person without bias (Rom. 2:5-11; 2 Cor. 5:10). God’s Word will always be the standard of morality, and every action must be authorized by God to be called “right” (Jn. 12:48; Col. 3:17), but there can also be selective outrage when it comes to religion. Some religious people may openly oppose all kinds of sins, but “turn a blind eye” to sins committed by someone in their own family or circle. Many inconsistent non-believers get outraged at Christians for saying homosexuality is wrong, but they remain “silent as a mouse” about Muslims who put homosexuals to death. They are selectively outraged against Christians, at least partially because Satan knows that Islam is on his side, and all his fiery arrows are aimed at Christians (Eph. 6:16).

Another example of selective outrage is when people get upset about certain kinds of sins because the Bible says they are wrong but seem to have no problem with other sins the Bible also condemns. Why do some vehemently oppose violence and murder, while fully supporting the so-called “right” to murder babies? Why do some vehemently condemn transgenderism while ignoring the Bible’s commands to remain sober? Are not both sins just as deadly to the soul? On what grounds is transgenderism being opposed? Is it because that is not how God made us, and God said things like that are wrong? (Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21). If so, what about all the other things God condemns? What about sex outside of a rightful marriage relationship? What about provocative dancing or provocative outfits that stir up lust (lasciviousness)? What about filthy language? What about lying or stealing? What about idolatry, teaching false doctrine, or worshiping God in sinful ways? With the “LGBTQ movement” gaining so much ground in modern culture, it makes sense for Bible believers to become more vocal against such, but we must be consistent, and we must make sure we are not condemning something simply because those “outside of our circle” are doing it.

Many argue that illegal immigration is wrong because those immigrants are breaking the laws of our country (which is true), but do those who are vocally upset also unabashedly break the laws of the land, such as the speed limit laws? Do the people who get upset about immigrants breaking the law do their best to obey every law (1 Pet. 2:13), or are they hypocritical and “selectively outraged” at only one type of infraction? What about laws requiring one to wear a seat belt, laws against cheating on taxes, or copyright laws? Are they only upset when people “outside of their circle” (illegal immigrants) break the law? Is breaking the law really the issue, or is that just a false pretense concealing something else? Can we condemn others for breaking the law if we are not trying to keep the law ourselves?

And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?…Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? (Rom. 2:3, 21-23).

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with speaking out against sin, but it is wrong to be a hypocrite (Mt. 7:1-6, 15-20; Jn. 7:24). We should examine ourselves before judging the actions of others, to make sure we are faithful first, then we can help others get their lives right (Mt. 7:5). Sometimes this involves openly speaking out against sin. Because of love, we should warn others if they are taking a path that God says leads to Hell. Paul said we should be “warning every man…that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28), and God said the following to Ezekiel:

When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul (Ezek. 3:18-19).

Regarding selective outrage, the bottom line is that, yes, Christians should oppose sin, but we should oppose all sins, not just one or two. We must also refrain from sin as we speak out against it, and we must oppose it no matter who is committing it.

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