Here’s something that I often wonder about. I generally left Facebook almost a month ago, only checking with my computer browser, and only posting in our children’s ministry team page. I couldn’t take all of the rhetoric and pot shots being taken against others from every side. The most heart-rending moments were when I saw people who clearly loved the Lord, posting things that hurt other people. Were they being purposefully malicious? I don’t think so, though in some cases? Maybe. What I believe has happened, is that we have placed our American freedoms in front of our Christian freedoms.
This is what I mean. Our First Amendment right says that we have freedom of speech. I can say whatever I want to say. I accept the consequences. If anyone wants to try and keep me from saying what I want to say, they can meet me at the saloon at high noon and we can hash this out. (Ok, not really the saloon). As citizens of the USA, we have that right.
But as citizens of Heaven, while we can say whatever we wish, our golden rule is to treat others as we would want to be treated and to LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS AS OURSELVES.
Now, I may be interpreting this very wrongly, but to me this means that I should go out of my way to bring peace and harmony in every situation. Even in an inflammatory discussion, I have the option of bringing love and the Holy Spirit into the mix, rather than trying to defend a side that will not get me into Heaven, or cement my salvation. Where so much of our world goes wrong, is that all of us are obsessed with this great truth that we hold to, that we believe makes us right. The thirst for being right and arguing endlessly to make a point poisons relationships and it doesn’t cast the Gospel in a good light.
I’m a church leader. If I’m all over social media saying what I believe the Bible says about a candidate, and how he is wrong, or a devil, or the worst person to ever walk the earth; if I’m talking about all of the kinds of things that I know people like me believe, what about the ones I am trying to reach for Christ who don’t feel that same way? I have instantly created a wall between my heart and theirs. And it’s not that God can not overcome that wall, but we have just made it that much more difficult for Him to overcome that wall THROUGH US!!
Now, I know…Jesus was forceful with the truth many times. I just wonder how He would act in the age of social media. Would he dedicate even 5 minutes to typing up a message that might be misunderstood, or might alienate the “least of these”? Maybe I’ll ask Him when I see Him.
So, while I would love to let some people have it over what they believe, the relationships in my life are God given, and God-blessed. I choose to only encounter in love. I keep my personal beliefs to myself, save that Jesus saves, my righteousness is given, not earned, and that we have been blessed with every blessing in heavenly places. Because the citizenship of Heaven is where my focus is, and I want to bring everyone that I can along with me.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when the truths of God need to be spoken, but even then, we MUST watch how we convey those. Pompous, self-righteous diatribes only drive a stake through people. They don’t serve to reconcile anyone to Christ. We can even read scripture in a way that drives people away from Christ. And yes, I can’t control how anyone interprets what I say, or what anyone says. I can only be responsible for what I say, and whether I say it in love or not.
I guess what I’m saying in all of this is simply,
LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS CHRIST HAS LOVED US.
Because before I’m a citizen of the USA, I’m a citizen of Heaven.
The cause of Christ is greater than me proving my point.
Be blessed folks!