Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
“And they will know we are Christian by our love, by our love…”
This is the hymn we sang in church this past Sunday. It is a favorite of many. But what if we sang this song, “And they will know we are Christians by our social media feed…” Would this be true of you? Would you loudly and proudly sing this refrain also, or would you sheepishly slink back into the pew? In the highlight reels of your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, is your faith and devotion to God obvious? Whether it be blatant or subtle, such modern-day outlets provide an easy platform to “…always give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15) No doubt, a quick glance through anyone's social media accounts will tell you all sorts of things about them—whether you want to know them or not. Their favorite football team. Their political preferences. The organizations they support. Their most recent Wordle score. How they spend their weekends. Probably even where some of their favorite places are to eat. We have no problem, and often given no second thought, to posting our personal opinions on current events and a whole slew of other items. But can you do me a favor? Imagine a world where we, followers of Jesus, spoke as freely and bravely about our faith and the Gospel of Jesus as we do about politics and sports. How awesome would that be?!
Sadly, there is often a big disconnect. We go through the motions of church on Sunday mornings, but our hearts are still bitter and untrusting. We are combative and cynical in how we deal with others that don't agree with us. Intentionally or not, we display that we are angrier and more disgusted in the world than we are steadfast and trusting in the God who reigns and rules over it. The prophet Isaiah warned about this, and it was then quoted by Jesus Himself, “And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.” (NLT Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 15:8) Throughout history, the people of God have become so entrenched and distracted by worldly things that they no longer look to the Creator, they no longer mimic His heart of mercy and compassion. Far too often, we do the Christian thing--occasionally and when it is convenient--but we lack consistency. We lambaste all the foolish stances and opinions of others. We stand on our secular soap boxes over a whole variety of topics, but we keep silent about the eternal truth which truly matters. We shut up and do nothing about the mission our God invites us into, to seek and save lost souls for Him. This has ailed the church for years. Looking deeper into our own social media diaries will provide a humbling diagnostic. Are your posts filled with love or vitriol? Kindness or contempt? Sympathy or sarcasm? Do you offer compassionate words of unity or polarizing words of division? Are the memes and images you share going to sow discord or bring people together? Do they seek to build people up, or tear down all those that disagree with you?
This is the conversation I had yesterday morning with a former member and friend of mine. He is a great, insightful man with solid integrity. His concern stemmed out of seeing so many of his “church friends” act in very un-Christlike ways. I echo those concerns—especially when so many in my feed are former or current church members. To be sure, we’ve all been guilty of this. I’m sure if we scroll back through our history and past memories, we will find posts that would embarrass us if Jesus now stood by our side. Our feeds are far from flattering. We know full well that we have shared and sent things that our Savior would never retweet. This is true of me. I’m guilty. I’ve taken my mind off godly things to obsess over worldly things and ridicule or demonize people. Thank you, Jesus, for the patience and mercy you show to me. Thanks be to God, there is grace for every time we misstep and every time we fail to accurately represent the Jesus we follow.
But this is also a relevant time to recall the impact our witness can have—good or bad. Let us be love-bringing, walking-billboards for our God. Let us be different than the unbelievers or the non-church goers in our midst. Especially during this yearly time of election cycles, it is a helpful reminder to stand out and be better than the mud-slinger commentators around us. Let the world know you are Christians by your love, whether that be in-person or on-line!
“The Christians needs to walk in peace, so no matter what happens they will be able to bear witness to a watching world.” (Henry Blackaby)
“A Christian who doesn’t give good witness is a contradiction in terms.” (Adrian Rogers)
“The greatest way to witness is through the life you live. Let the radiance of your Christian life be such that it will make others ask questions about the beauty of your faith.” (Billy Graham)
Pastor Steve Vera