Recently, my Christian fiction writing group had a discussion, trying to decide if we should have a session to discuss the pros and cons of using social media as a platform for what we believe as Christians. When important social issues are discussed, should we sit on the fence, remain silent, or attempt to influence others?
I can’t answer that question for other writers. Christian writers must decide what’s right for them through prayer and being in God’s Word. We don’t get to dictate to one another what is right or best on this issue. Many of my colleagues will disagree with me and that’s okay. What I hope we can all agree on, however, is that when we decide to wield social media as a tool to convince people we’re right on social issues we better act like Christians when we do it.
I’m good with whatever my colleagues decide to do, because I love them and I support them. I know they have good hearts for Christ. This blog is for the Christians who are making the rest of us look bad. Please stop. For months (maybe years), I’ve been horrified and ashamed at the self-righteous, hateful, angry, vitriolic venom spewed on social media by folks who say they’re Christians. Yes, non-Christians do it too. But they’re not following the guy who wrote the book on what it means to love one another—even when they don’t love us back.
We’re specifically called to be Christian ambassadors of reconciliation. In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul wrote, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
What does it look like to be a reconciliation ambassador? It doesn’t look like calling people names and telling them they’re going to hell. It’s loving them and praying for them and looking for opportunities to talk quietly like civilized human beings on topics about which we all care deeply.
We’re studying the fruit of the spirit in my Sunday school class. We’ve spent two sessions on love, specifically agape love. This is different from brotherly love or sexual love. It’s not a feeling. It’s a divinely inspired action. It comes from God. We can’t do it on our own. It requires sacrifice. When Scripture says love your neighbor, it’s not a choice, it’s a command. Which means we must love people even if we don’t agree with them.
We don’t get to call them out in a holier-than-thou, take-that tone of voice that says they’re scum while we’re angels-in-training.
Here’s the thing. Jesus did not belong to a political party. Contrary to popular belief, he was not a Republican. He loved the woman at the well. He loved the tax collector. He loved the adulterer. He loved the sinner. He loves me. He loves President Trump. He loves Nancy Pelosi. He loves Hillary Clinton. He loves President Obama. He expects us to love them and each other.
Finding that difficult? Fine. Start with one of the first things Mom taught us. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
Then move on to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
And then “let he who has no sin cast the first stone.” That’s a good one. Every time I walk by the closet that holds the memories of the decade of my twenties, the skeletons rattle so hard, they fall out. Sometimes I still wake up at night in a cold sweat asking God to forgive the horrible things I did between 1976 and 1987, even though I’ve already asked and He’s already forgiven me and crushed those iniquities under his heel. I can’t be the only one still haunted by my wayward youth.
I can’t stand in judgement because I have this enormous plank in my eye and I can’t see the splinter in the other guy’s eye. Unless you’re perfect—and only one perfect person has ever walked this earth—I suspect you’re in the same boat.
“We love because He first loved us. If anyone says I love God, yet he hates his brother he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: whoever loves God, must also love his brother.” 1 John 4: 19-21
What happens if we don’t love our neighbors as ourselves? Galatians 6:15 says “If you keep biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Strong words, indeed.
It may be a tough nut to swallow, but we’re all brothers and sisters in God’s eyes. We’re his family. Let’s start acting like it.
Feel free to leave constructive, loving comments below.