Well it’s happened again. Social media has blown up over yet another political issue; with people on both sides writing passionate blogs, articles, and Facebook posts proclaiming their position. Unfortunately many of those posts have been what I have called “Christians behaving badly.” Once again we have post after post and blog after blog of Christians using the Bible to spew hatred, bigotry and ignorance. It doesn’t matter to me which side of the issue you’re on, as Christians we need to learn to be more gracious in our communication. So no matter what your opinion is perhaps the five points below can provide a framework for you to use to shape your communication in a way that both makes your point and honors God and honors people.
Stop expecting those who don’t share your faith to share your moral values.
Why are we so surprised that people who don’t claim to be Christians don’t act like Christians. Why are we so surprised at this decision? It seems that much of what is shared on social media is Christians just wanting to point out sin. What if instead we actually did what the Bible says and prayed for our leaders? What if instead of writing more blog posts we called more prayer meetings?
1 Corinthians 5:9–13 (NLT)
9 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.
12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”
Be careful that you handle Scripture correctly.
When it comes to the subject of homosexuality, too many people just spout off that the Bible says homosexuality is sin and will send someone to hell. They don’t know the verses and they don’t look at the context of the verses. If we use the Bible, we need to use the Bible correctly. That means we need to find those verses and look at what they’re really saying. The Bible should never be used as a tool for our own prejudice and hate. The Bible is a message of freedom. That’s how it should be used.
My challenge to the church is to look up the Scriptures that address the subject. Look them up. Look at the context. Look at what the passage is really saying. Be careful that we don’t use Scripture as a tool to judge others. If we do, we might find ourselves actually being judged more strictly by the very Scriptures we’re claiming to use.
For example, in Romans chapter 1, (one of the passages that we use to condemn homosexuality) Paul includes it in a list of other sins. If we use this passage to condemn homosexuality then we must also condemn gossips, people who are envious, people who are boastful and proud and people who are disobedient to their parents. If you use this passage to condemn homosexuality then you have to use this passage to condemn basically everyone else. That’s why Paul follows this list with this statement:
Romans 2:1 (NLT)
You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.
If at all possible communicate in such a way that your homosexual friends are still convinced of your commitment to them and love for them.
The problem with this statement is not just in how we communicate and convince our unchurched and unsaved friends that we love them. The problem with this statement is that we don’t have any homosexual friends. The problem with this statement is that Christians tend to insulate themselves from those outside their own Christian circle of friends rather than going out into the world.
We need to look at what Jesus did. He ate and drank with tax collectors prostitutes and sinners. Somehow or another, he was able to preach a very convicting message and still be loved by those that were far from God as well as assuring them of his love towards them. We need to learn to be like Jesus.
Mark 2:13–17 (NLT)
13 Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.
15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”
17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Be careful of the Chicken Little syndrome.
Way too many people are responding to the Supreme Court decision with a gloom and doom attitude. They’re predicting the decline of our nation. They’re saying this decision is a slippery slope to even worse decisions. This puts the focus on the wrong thing. The hope for our nation is not in our government but in God.
We as Christians are called to be salt and light in a dark world. The hope of our nation is for the church to rise up. Our nation’s decline is not the fault of our government. Our nation’s decline is a result of an ineffective church. Our response should not be to constantly point fingers at others. Our response should be to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what I have done to make a difference in this country. Our response needs to be for the church to rise up and be the church. That is the only hope for our country.
Matthew 5:13–16 (NLT)
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Don’t be distracted from what we’re called to in the first place.
It’s my opinion that most confrontation should take place in the context of discipleship. Social media is a lousy place to speak out against sin or what you perceive as such. To do so in such a public setting is, many times, irresponsible. We earn the right to speak into people’s lives. If we haven’t done the hard work of love, what right do we have to call people out on an area of sin that we perceive to be in their lives?
Once again this points out a weak spot in the life of many Christians. The simple fact is that very few believers are in the process of discipleship themselves, much less in the process of making disciples. But for some reason, we feel that it is our right to shout from the rooftops every time someone else does something that we don’t agree with. There are way too many self-appointed watchmen in the church today, and not near enough disciple makers.
Matthew 28:19–20 (ESV)
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In all of this I’m not saying that we shouldn’t stand by our convictions. I’m just saying to be careful how we do it. The most important thing is that we’re building relationships with people. And those relationships need to be safe relationships that are founded on love, mutual honor, and respect. That has got to come first. And we must be very careful that when we share things on social media and when we talk about things in a conversation we realize that people are listening and they are deciding whether or not you are a safe person.
I don’t know how Jesus did it. Somehow he was able to preach difficult messages and still be invited into the home of some of the most notorious sinners in the community. The question we have to ask ourselves is; have I earned the right to speak into this situation? Have I earned the right to confront this sin? Has God called me as a prophet to the world? Are my motives pure? Do I really know what I’m talking about? Do I have the humility to honestly answer any of these questions?
What the world needs now is not people who are constantly pointing out the wrong done in the world. What the world needs now is people who are giving their lives to become more like Christ. That’s what we need. That’s what will turn this country around.