I saw a bumper sticker that said, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” I’m not sure what particular issue the driver had in mind, but I can think of a few!
Webster’s Dictionary says that “outrage” means, “to anger or offend” and that “outrageous” means, “grossly offensive to the sense of right or decency.” In the prophet Jeremiah’s day they were surrounded by sin, even participated in sin, yet they didn’t feel ashamed or “blush” (Je 6:15). Has the same thing happened to us? Is anything outrageous anymore?
Things never talked about publicly in the past are now common entertainment. Clothes prostitutes wore in dark alleys are now stylish for everyone. It was a shame to be caught in adultery, pre-marital sex, and homosexuality, but now they are actually encouraged. How did this happen? How has the outrageous (offensive) become acceptable?
Getting Used to Sin
It is challenging to remain sensitive to sin. Paul warned about people “whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (1 Ti 4:2 NIV). Our conscience is what reminds us to do what we have learned is right. The uncomfortable mental disharmony we feel when we do what we learned is wrong can help us turn and look for forgiveness – if we let it!
No matter how well our conscience is taught, it is possible to ignore it. And if we ignore it long enough and continue in sin it will eventually stop “jabbing” us. We get used to sinning. At that point our conscience is “seared” – it is a though the feeling receptors are burned off. Paul describes it as “…having their understanding darkened… blindness of their heart… being past feeling…” (Ep 4:17-24). Oddly, wrong feels right (and right can feel wrong), but the only thing that has changed is the deadening of our consciences.
The more we’re around sin, the less evil it can seem. The more we participate in sin, the less effects we can see and feel. For sin to be outrageous to us it must remain sinful, even “exceedingly sinful” (Ro 7:13). Make mental notation of sins when we see and hear them in the media and entertainment. Identify sin as sin when it appears in our own actions and words. Intentionally don’t do things because they are sinful or will tempt us to sin. Keep sin outrageous in our minds.
In Ephesians 4, when Paul talked about the “old man” of sin, he said the solution is for our “new man” in Christ to be “renewed in the spirit of your mind” causing us to be “created according to God in true righteousness and holiness”. Being holy makes us sensitive to righteousness and outraged (offended) by sin. Let’s stay sensitive to and outraged by sin!