There is a lot of fear in our world right now. What’s sad to me is seeing how fear is moving people, even Christian people, to say and do hateful things. But even worse, they are finding ways to justify their hatred. Self-preservation is the excuse for rejecting a whole class of people.
Jesus said that we don’t have to fear this world because he has overcome the world. Because of that, we can risk preferring others, even at our own expense.
People are Watching
If you’ve made yourself known as a Christian, people are watching to see how you respond under duress: will you trust God and speak words of hope and grace? Or will you allow fear to move you to become self-preserving and hateful?
I’m seeing posts online that are very provocative…meaning the words and images are meant to PROVOKE you to react (more than usual). People seem to think they can win others over with clichéd and inflammatory quotes. But they more often offend than win over. When was the last time someone changed your mind by shaming you?
Reducing complex issues to a sound bite only reveals that they don’t have a grasp of the issue. Reasoned dialogue please.
Watch Your Words
If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, can I ask you to think twice before you speak, and three times before you post something potentially provocative and divisive that only promotes a limited view?
My big concern is that Jesus followers misrepresent the heart of God to a world that desperately needs him. Let’s not risk turning someone away from God for the momentary pleasure of spouting off our viewpoint.
Please ask yourself, “Am I posting to honor God and promote peace and goodwill, or am I posting to promote my viewpoint and take a jab at the fools that disagree with me?” Or put another way, do your words build up or tear down?
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-31
When you feel fear spiking within you (often disguised as a strong sense of self-righteous indignation), that’s the time to pray and ask God to give you HIS mind to do and say something constructive…something that adds to the discussion and offers a solution. Polarizing people doesn’t help. Some notable politicians are doing that and it’s disappointing to see Christians support them.
Jesus said we are to be known for our love. That’s what sets us apart from the world and points people to God. Our job is to promote HIS agenda, not ours.
We need peace more this Christmas than ever. Let’s be a people who turn to God for that peace and not react in fear, causing people to separate rather than move toward each other. If we want to be like Jesus, let’s work at bringing people together.