With all that is circulating around our world, our country and our communities in the recent days, months and past year its hard not to notice the unending commentary in 140 characters on Twitter or the famous Facebook “not gonna read the rant on Facebook post because it’s too long for my Facebook purposes this should be a blog” post.
I like Twitter. I don’t like FB so much. Facebook is useful for keeping up with people and occasionally I’ll get sucked into something, but I try to stay above much of the fray. Confession, my FB posts come from connection to my Twitter. Rarely do I actually post something on “the Facebook”.
I have chosen to keep quiet about the shooting, LGBT issues, bathroom issues, Islam etc. because it’s easier to do more harm than good with careless statements and it’s easy to say culturally acceptable and yet dumb things like “prayers to…”, like prayers to anyone other than God are effective (not to mention the Christian necessity to make sure prayers are to God through the mediation of Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit). But that’s another post for another day.
It’s easy to find oneself caught in the place of feeling the need to say something but not wanting to be dumb. Hey, I’m not one to fail to say hard things, and I’m always open to critique and correcting myself if wrong. But I can only do that with people who are of my faith and worldview. If I inject something careless into the world of information that affects my ability to speak into the lives of those outside of my faith then I’ve failed really badly and I can’t undo what I’ve done.
First, dear Christian, don’t cut off your ability to witness to the gospel by the power of God because of stupid social media posts that really are minimally effective anyway. Really, who reads my posts beyond a few? It may just be my narcissistic desire to be heard and feel important. Do I want to cut off my ability to witness to the gospel for narcissistic ends? No. I don’t. So, it’s better to appear wise in silence than to remove all doubt by opening my mouth.
Second, it’s wise to remember the winsomeness of Jesus when he dealt with folks who were sinners and the fire and prophetic awesomeness he brought when dealing with the spiritually “in”. I noticed posts going around that “Christians” were re-posting where some pastor on the Hannity show “destroyed” Islam and the Imam who was also on the show as he ranted against Islam etc. There is no doubt huge distinctions between Christians and Muslims and we both are not right. But ranting on and seeking to “destroy” the other for whom Jesus died is not quite the way. Maybe have a quiet meal with the Imam at a place of his choice and talk about our differences and share the gospel and trust the Spirit to do the work Jesus said he would do.
I’d say that kind of ranting should be reserved for the fool who calls the name Jesus and rejects Jesus by his actions (see Stephen in Acts 7 as he tore down the sacred cows of Judaism of land, law and temple).
Third, remember that evangelism is ongoing with with Muslims, people from the LGBT community and other segments of the population and somethings are just not helpful. Default to being wronged in public if necessary for the sake of the salvation of others. Why not rather be wronged than created havoc and turn people away before they actually get to hear the message that needs to do the offending. The gospel will offend plenty without us having to offend unnecessarily on the front end. I have people I am working with and have worked with in these camps and I desperately want them to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and want to see them transformed by the gospel and what a shame it would be to cut that off through useless banter that has no good end. I have friends from all over the spectrum and all over the world who follow me on social media and I have had to learn and am still learning how to not loose gospel opportunity through social media folly. It can happen and does far too often. That’s a shame.
Fourth, don’t forget that our political seasons should be a reminder to us who belong to the Kingdom of God that we don’t have any representative who truly represents the Kingdom of God and the system, although the finest in the world (my biased opinion), is not the Kingdom and will never be the the Kingdom and the future of the church does not hinge on who becomes president. Who becomes president may be an indicator of our judgment or God’s grace, but the church won’t loose, the Kingdom will advance and people will be won to faith in Christ. The Kingdom does not hinge on temporary political movements. See Stephen Neill’s “The History of Christian Missions”. Nothing will stop the Kingdom of God. So, don’t build your reputation on your voting preferences. Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. True, we are given a political system that God has ordained for us to have at this point in time (Romans 13), and it is broken (Genesis 3), and we have to do the best with what we have (vote 1 of 2 or write in a candidate or sit it out or whatever), but our future in the Kingdom is not tied to our future as a nation. The church is doing fine in other less free places and she will continue to do fine here. As a matter of fact, less freedom, more difficulty and decrease in nominalism in the faith will show us who is really in and who is fake (See Hebrews 10). That’s not so bad. Is Jesus really worth it? We’ll find out who thinks so.
Fifth, don’t be afraid to call out what are the inconsistencies in everyone’s position including media, Christian, Muslim, LGBT, etc. Good public debate demands that we recognize the issues in play and how they are presented and the bias and folly with which many are presented. But do this with honor and respect (1 Peter 3:15-17) so that we can’t be accused of wrong among those who need to be saved and escape the snare of the evil one. Also, do this in person. It’s more honoring, we are less likely to be misunderstood and evangelism opportunities abound in person when we are willing to meet with and discuss what is right with others who think differently. This takes humility, skill, wisdom and the Holy Spirit’s great help. Try it out. We’ll find better unity among Christians, more dialogue about Jesus with others outside the faith and may just find Jesus to be at work in ways that make our faith increase.
Here are some worthy reads that express winsomeness and some black and white observations of the chaos swirling around.
Just be, as the Lord said, “shrewd as a serpent and innocent as a dove.”