Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

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We’ve seen a lot of indignant people on the news lately. An indignant Supreme Court nominee.  Indignant U.S. senators.  Indignant activists.  Folks are brimming with righteous indignation because they feel that they have been wronged.

So, to jump on the band wagon, during the past two weeks, I have tried to muster up some of my twenty-something indignation. I am a proponent of the “Me Too” movement, and the past two years certainly have given women a reason to be outraged.  The problem is that I am no longer twenty.  I am almost 50, and righteous indignation no longer comes easily to me.

My problem is that whenever I get angry about someone’s behavior, that still, small voice says to me, “Hmmm. Are you sure that you are in a position to cast stones?”  Well, no.  The still, small voice is irritating, isn’t it?  Because I would like to rant and rave and be judgmental, as I did in the good old days.  I enjoyed being young, thinking that I knew everything, and knowing for sure that everyone else had gotten it all wrong.

But I’ve grown up. Being mad and outraged is no longer fun.  Now, when I see man’s inhumanity to man in the world, I don’t feel pissed off.  Instead, I am saddened.  I also am reminded of my own wrong doings.  And I am chastened when I think about my own past sins, bad choices and failures.

For instance, when I see stories of women and children being abused, I don’t feel angry. I recognize that we human beings are deeply flawed, and that the world has a lot of very mentally sick people in it. Evil in the world is a natural consequence of that.  What I do feel is incredibly sad.  Then my maternal instinct kicks in, and I want to hug every abused woman and child and tell them that it will all be OK.

Now my lack of righteous indignation hasn’t made me brain dead. I just have a practical view of things.  Rationally, I know that there are some people in this world who aren’t fit to be part of society.  They are either violent or perverted, or both.  That doesn’t make me angry with them.  But I also don’t want them roaming free around my neighborhood.

Likewise, there are some people who aren’t meant to be in roles of leadership because they lack the maturity and temperament to lead. That doesn’t make them bad people.  It just makes them ill-suited for certain jobs.  Why should their flaws and limitations make me angry?  We are all human beings, and God created us to be imperfect.

More personally, I could probably name off the top of my head about 10 people who I occasionally interact with, but who I would gladly never see again. I’m not mad at them or outraged by them.  Nor am I sitting around feeling irritated with something they may have said or done.  I just would prefer not to deal with them because they are difficult to be around.

I recently was chatting with a friend of mine who told me, “I’m not seeking happiness anymore. I just want peace.”  That is what happens when you get to be of a certain age, I suppose.  Your top priority is to have peaceful relationships – and a peaceful mind.  Righteous indignation disrupts that peace.

Now some might say that without righteous indignation, the world will continue to be an unjust and unsafe place for women, children and animals. I disagree.  I don’t need to shout at anyone to create political change.  I have my vote to do that.  I don’t need to protest to feed people.  I can give food to my local food bank.  And I don’t need to get angry and loud about the abuse of animals.  I have three pets in my house from animal shelters who reflect my views on that topic quite clearly.

Righteous indignation is not going to change our world. That kind of indignation is all about sound bites and getting votes.  It isn’t about creating real change.  Real change comes from the quiet, dogged, strategic actions of people like you and me.  It comes from voting our consciences and living lives that reflect our values.  Being noisy will never change the world, and righteous indignation is nothing but noise.

(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)

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