After the Outrage


The outrage that echoed loudly through social media the last few weeks has left us for a time.  It is now old and uninteresting, sort of like leftover turkey that sits, covered in plastic, in the refrigerator a week after Thanksgiving. No one cares anymore, and so we gladly throw away the carcass. We are ready to move on.

But after the outrage there is still a refugee problem. After the outrage, Lebanon, Baghdad, and Paris still cry out from a wounded place. After the outrage, there are still faces of human need that flash across my mind.

Outrage seems to do little to motivate for the long term. It may cause a one time gift of time or money and it certainly feeds the conscience, but it is not sustainable.

But mercy is sustainable. Mercy and compassion continue long after the outrage passes. Mercy and compassion are borne out of love for God and for those who are made in his image.

This next month, the Western world will focus on a day that has come to mean glitter and stuff. A day that has slowly eroded in meaning, coopted by money and market. And in truth, I love glitter and sparkle. I love lights and baubles.

Competing with the glitter and glitz is the Season of Advent. A time of silent nights and candle time. A time of waiting and longing, a time to pray for the refugee and the broken one. Advent is not a time of outrage, but a time of mercy and compassion. It is a time to live beyond the outrage, in a place of quiet consistency and anticipation. It is the time of the irrational season, where mercy and love trump reason.

The outrage is over, and Advent has begun. Refugees still try and get through unsafe waters onto safe shores; millions on millions are still displaced, violence still breaks our hearts and takes those we love.

The outrage is over, but a broken world remains in desperate need of our mercy and compassion. Can we live above and beyond the outrage? 

Ways to live beyond the outrage:

  1. Make refugee kits
  2. Show this movie to some people in your life: Overview of Refugee Crisis from the Refugee Highway. Think about showing it to a community group, your church, a group of friends and use it as a time to learn more about the world of refugees.
  3. Work in a soup kitchen this holiday season. There are huge needs during the cold weather and volunteers are welcome.
  4. Set aside a time each day to pray for the world.

We pray for all whose lives
have been touched by tragedy,
whether by accident
or a deliberate act.
For those who mourn,
immerse them in your love
and lead them through this darkness
into your arms, and light.
For those who comfort,
be in both the words they use
and all that’s left unspoken;
fill each heart with love.
We ask this through Jesus Christ,
whose own suffering brought us life,
here and for eternity. Amen

©John Birch Read more at:
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
Follow us: @faithandworship on Twitter | faithandworship on Facebook


5 thoughts on “After the Outrage

  1. I recently read the story told by a Vietnamese American woman. Her grandparents, her mother and two aunts escaped as Saigon was falling. The woman had worked for the American Embassy, but in the end was abandoned. They had to get out because of the American connection. The three girls were separated from their parents, neither daughters nor parents knowing if the others had gotten out alive as they all saw one of the last helicopters shot down in flames. They miraculously found each other on Guam amongst the thousands of other refugees. As a child she and her cousins loved to hear the story of what she called their Exodus from Vietnam. But the other part of the story is that there was a little Baptist Church in Lafayette, Indiana whose people had decided that they should sponsor a Vietnamese refugee family. They were praying for that family long before they ever saw them. They met them with a furnished apartment, Doctor’s appointments, clothes, all the practical help they needed, and such love as they had never experienced. At the end of the article she says, “This is also my story. I grew up knowing that I existed because somewhere in the world, a group of people believed that God was asking them to show mercy to those who needed it. I grew up knowing that this sort of a God is a God worth trusting. His mercy echoes down through the generations.”
    And I thought to myself, “What if every church in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and all the countries of western Europe each sponsored a refugee family? I wonder how much of a difference that would make for the millions fleeing. It might be a small dent in the total, but how much it would mean to each of those families! And His mercy would continue to echo down through the generations. May God help each of us to do what little we can to show His love and compassion to these desperate people He loves.


    1. PS: I meant to credit the story to Juliet Liu Waite, Christianity Today December 2015, titled “The Waters of their Exodus.”


    2. Crying as I read this. What a beautiful, beautiful story. I love you. So this is a recent story – You don’t know this yet, but you have written my next blog post. Thank you.


Add to the discussion...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s