Beyond moral outrage to moral courage

A friend of mine struggled for years as a victim of sexual abuse. When I found out, I did everything I knew to help her. She was soon safe and on the road to recovery, and I found I wanted to help others struggling with the same issue. So I got involved with a number of organizations standing up to this type of abuse. 

My actions were fueled by moral outrage. But harboring outrage was exhausting, even as it seemed to reinforce the harsh reality of the evil I wanted to help bring to an end. As I turned wholeheartedly to God in prayer, I felt a shift from a fearful and angry focus on injustice to an earnest focus on the supreme power of God, the source of all good. This made a huge difference. I began acting from selfless moral courage instead of self-righteous moral outrage. 

Moral outrage is a reaction to the belief that evil is real and powerful. Moral courage is action based on an understanding that God, as Truth and Love, is supreme and all-powerful. Moral courage and outrage may both bring attention to an injustice and instigate change. But outrage can quickly turn into self-righteousness and be hypnotic—escalating overt or subtle fears of a seeming power apart from God rather than enabling us to master those fears. It then becomes challenging to get the mental traction needed for effective change. Angry clashing of opinions on what’s right and wrong rarely lifts us above the fray. 

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What is real?
July 26, 2021

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