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Holy Outrage

Our world is terrifying. I can find something to be upset about every day. I open the computer and see in the headlines that ISIS beheaded more people, more refugee bodies washed on the shore, more homeless died in the cold, more kids were sold for sex, and more time was granted to Trump. Evil is smoldering, glittering, and snickering all over the world.

Lord, what do you want me to do about evil?

Sometimes I read the articles and watch the videos. Sometimes I like, comment, and share news posts. Sometimes I pray about them while I’m driving or running. And then they’re often forgotten, or at least pushed back a row in my mind to make room for the injustice I’ll surely read about tomorrow.

Lord, what do you want me to do about evil?

When I saw the pictures of the dead refugee baby on the beach last fall I was outraged. I wrote my elected officials and asked them to do more. That felt good for a few hours. But it didn’t change anything.

So I released those feelings of fearful, helpless, anger in completely unhelpful ways. I yelled at my son about his illegible handwriting. I audibly sighed and rolled my eyes behind slow southern drivers. I curled in a ball with wine and cheese to watch mindless TV. My righteous anger had nowhere to go. I’ve got access to tons of information, and supposedly tons of resources and organizations that will be a part of the solution. But here I sit, pampered and protected, in my fragile little life.

Lord, what do you want me to do about evil?

My husband and I want our kids to be World Changers. We want our family to love and serve others out of the compassion and justice we learn from Jesus Christ. We choose a Family Compassion Focus every year and explore new ways to love the lost and the least.

On this journey our kids got obsessed with Martin Luther King, Jr. Our public schools do a great job introducing his world changing work. It’s how my kids began to learn about slavery and injustice in our own country. All of them have marched home on snowy January days with holy questions:

  • “Mom! Did you know people didn’t get to drink out of the water fountain because their skin was darker?! How stupid!”
  • “Mom, why would someone beat someone up for eating ice cream at a counter?”
  • “Mom, why were there slaves in America?”

Two years ago Greta came home from kindergarten and said, “We need to bake a cake for Martin Luther King, Jr! He was a World Changer and our family loves World Changers!” How could I say no? She mixed the batter while humming in her bright floral apron. I decorated it according to her instructions. We put in a candle and sang. My husband played U2’s Pride and we talked about the lyrics.

I’m not sure if Dr. King would even want my super white family singing to him in our suburban granite kitchen. I think he would want to know how we are fighting injustice, or maybe how we’re getting out of the way.

Lord, what do you want me to do about evil?

I don’t think my family’s story ends with an earnest cake for our Civil Rights Hero. I hope we are still just writing our prologue. We research injustice and history, we honor brave World Changers, and we try compassion experiments to put our holy outrage and growing knowledge into loving action.

I don’t know if my kids will ever be in jail for fighting injustice, like Dr. King was in Birmingham. I will be very proud (and scared) if they are. I hope they will “defend the weak and the fatherless, and uphold the rights of the poor and the oppressed” [Psalm 82:3] when they leave home, no matter what they do for a living.

This afternoon Greta was proud to tell me she told her new class Dr. King was a World Changer. She asked if I could come to school and read our new book about him. Her lovely teacher and I exchanged several emails. Surprisingly I will get to read to the class, and even bring in a big cake that says “MLK – World Changer.”

Have you listened to the I Have a Dream speech lately? The whole thing? Here is a link to the audio file and transcript. Please listen to it.

“…I have a dream that one day ‘every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.’ [Isaiah 40:4-5]

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day…”

Lord, what do you want me to do about evil?

Questions to prayerfully consider:

  1. Are you called to be a World Changer? Why or why not?
  2. What evil breaks your heart in the world today?
  3. Ask God, “What do you want me to do about this thing that breaks my heart?”
  4. Read Isaiah 61:1-4. Jesus had this on his business card (Luke 4:18-19). What is on your business card?


dr king cake

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©Aimee Fritz & Family Compassion Focus, 2016



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