“…in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others…” Philippians 2:3-4
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.”
2 Timothy 2:24-25a
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:18
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life…” Philippians 2:14-16a
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…” Hebrews 10:24
I don’t like confrontation. “Hate” would not be too strong a word here. I avoid it like the — well, these days, like the coronavirus. I don’t like disagreeing with people. I don’t even like telling my *kids* what to do, or when they’re wrong. I do it, of course, but it tends to make me grumpy (the Lord and I are working on that). If I can remember that it’s not about me, though, not about whether they’re happy at that moment (my empathy is sometimes too strong for anyone’s good), not about whether they’re happy *with me* at that moment — if I can back up a bit and see from a wider perspective, I can avoid the grumps and speak from love and a desire for their good. Communicate better. Be okay with their reaction, whatever it may be.
I’m trying to do that now. Thankfully those principles I’m learning in parenting apply to any type of confrontation. Because I’m not speaking to my children right now; far from it, in fact — I’m speaking to the church, to my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Christians, so much of what I see on social media does not match what I see in those verses above. We are called, as Christ-followers, as God’s children, to pursue peace, to avoid grumbling and arguing, to look out for the interests and well-being of others, to live out His love and grace toward others — all others. Everyone. People who wear masks, and people who won’t wear masks, and even the people who ask us (or tell us) to wear masks. People who shop at Walmart, and people who would rather shop at independent stores, and people who try not to shop at all right now, and even the people who allow Walmart to be open but not the independent stores (or the church building). People who are more concerned with their health or the health of other people, and people who are more concerned with economic health (which does, of course, also affect people).
Our government may be making poor decisions right now. Our government may even be taking freedoms it shouldn’t be taking, infringing upon our rights. I’m not saying this is fine, or okay — but I don’t see anywhere in God’s Word where He tells us to fight for our rights or freedoms or protections or provisions from the government. Paul was imprisoned for talking about Jesus, and the letters he sent out didn’t rally people to protest. Jesus didn’t fight against the Roman government at all — He was concerned with greater things. That’s one of the reasons so many Israelites failed to recognize Him as Messiah — they thought the Messiah would save them from the government, not from the consequences of their sin. They wanted to stop paying taxes and to get all their freedoms back, to have things the way they wanted them to be. They were looking at the right-now, not at eternity.
What are we looking at, church?
What will matter in 100 years, or 1,000? What will matter forever? Will it matter that we fought to have the freedom to go where we want, when we want, how we want, with whom we want? Will it matter that we were right about the government, or the conspiracies, or the vaccines, or the stupidity of [whatever we think is stupid]?
Or will it matter whether we loved people *through* all the stupidity? That we showed them who Jesus is in the midst of all this? That, because of our grace, our endurance, our kindness, our humility — and the fact that all the credit for those things goes to Jesus — that, because we have been made new, and different, another soul was saved for all eternity? That someone you know came to see Jesus for who He is because of how you handled all this craziness right now, looking to Jesus and radiating the peace He promises us?
While he was unjustly imprisoned, Paul wrote, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
All things. Even be content despite all that’s happening in our world today. All things. Even face our fears of illness or of economic collapse with the peace of Christ. All things. Even live the love of Christ toward government officials we disagree with (to put it mildly). All things. Through Him.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. … Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:1-3, 15)
Humility. Gentleness. Patience. Peace. Bearing with one another. Speaking the truth in love. As the body of Christ, we are called to live this way. We are empowered to live this way by the Holy Spirit in us, through the sacrifice of Jesus our Savior, to the glory of God our Father.
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” (2 Peter 1:3-9)
Let’s not be ineffective or unfruitful in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s not be nearsighted. Let’s remember our calling as children of our good God, and let it overshadow our complaints. Let’s remember who we are, Whose we are, what our purpose is. Even on Facebook.
2 thoughts on “Social Media Matters”
Great post 😁
We are to live a life that honors God in every area of our lives. Social media has exposed the hearts of many and how dark the human heart can get. Sadly, it seems the devil is using social media to advance his agenda. Let us not give the devil a foothold in our lives, whether online or offline. What we say and how we behave is important. The things we do and say exposes the condition of our hearts. May we use social media for good and advance forward the Kingdom of God. Let our way of life be a testimony to those around us (whether online or in real life) that we are indeed true children of God.
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