Maybe you’ve felt discouraged in these times of uncertainty? Discouraged by trying to figure out what’s true and what’s not? Discouraged by the behaviors of some people you trusted to be nice people who have lashed out on social media and handed you even more discouragement?
If we don’t have something nice to say maybe we shouldn’t be saying anything at all?
What’s the best recipe for change?
What do we get out of posting something that might offend someone else?
Why do we post emotionally or politically charged things on social media?
Will the political party with the best posts win?
Do I really think that posting a belief I have on social media will change someone else’s beliefs or behaviors?
I’d venture to say that the only thing I believe can change someone is God’s Word, the relationships we have with people and God Himself. If I am disrespectful in what I post I disrespect myself and others and people are less likely to follow me, to listen to me or even consider what I have to say. I can damage the relationships I have with the people around me. I can also be a healing balm to my community as well.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to post an opinion, but I am saying it’s sinful to disrespect others in what we post. If I’m posting in anger or if I’m giving a heated response to someone, am I pointing people to God? Will the post muddy my witness? Posting things that polarize people creates a much larger barrier and makes it much more difficult to come to the table and have respectful, open minded discussions with one another, the kind of discussion that help us all grow. I will even go as far to say that participating in division is sinful behavior. This isn’t just my opinion. It’s a Biblical principle as well.
God created all people and loves all people regardless of their political affiliation or opinions on whatever the hot topic is at hand. There are believers living out their faith in both major political parties here in the Unites States. Some are so polarized they cannot even stand with me and agree with the previous sentence, but I have known both Godly Republicans and Godly Democrats. When did we lose the ability to agree to disagree?
So, what should a Christian’s behavior be in these times of polarity?
We need to be careful we are serving God first in what we say and do. A political party, topic or issue can become an idol in our lives. Yes, I’m saying some seem to be valuing politics even more than God’s will for their lives. The Enemy is so happy in times of divisiveness and separation! Distraction is Satan’s greatest tool! If we lose focus on why God has us here in the first place the enemy wins. Our Godly purpose and charge is not to serve a political party, but to live out Godly principles in this world and to point others to God. I cannot point others to God if what I’m posting on social media is polarizing, slanderous, mocking and disrespectful. This behavior is sinful and divides and causes further hurt and discouragement in our world.
We are such natural judges. Judgmental-ism is an instinct in our individualistic culture that we seem to be born with. Maybe individualism will kill us because in our individualism we disrespect our sense of community and connectedness that God created for us. Individualism is selfish. It’s all about me, what I think and what I want. Evil eventually will implode upon itself.
So is there a guide we can use to help us not participate in these sinful behaviors? I believe the Bible has given us much to consider! I first think of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:16-26:
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Enmity isn’t a word we use very often but maybe we should? It means, “the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” I’d say there’s enmity all around in these times?
I can use Galatians 5:16-26 as a test for what I should be posting and saying to others. Here’s a filter of questions I can ask myself to be sure I’m on the right path:
- Will what I’m thinking of posting create: Enmity? Strife? Division?Rivalries? Anger? If so, I’m participating in the work of the enemy.
- Will what I’m thinking about posting create: Love? Joy? Peace? Patience? Kindness? Goodness? Faithfulness? Gentleness? Self-Control?
We have a much greater battle to engage in while here in this world. It’s not opinions or politics. It’s the battle for the soul of every human being. It’s a battle for the Kingdom of God that will reign supreme in God’s timing. It’s a battle for forgiveness and freedom from SIN: the greatest pandemic that sickens our land.
Brothers and Sisters, let’s focus on the fruit of the Spirit. Can we discipline ourselves so others can see God, for against these things there is no law?