I’ve been noticing a trend happening on the Facebook pages, Instagram Feeds, and Twitter accounts of a lot of my friends lately. These friends all have two things in common, they are Christians, and they are perpetually outraged. Somehow the two have merged in to one thing in light of recent focus on social issues, government policies, and various decisions by corporations to modify their bathroom policies, of all things. These issues have become so all consuming, so overwhelmingly important, that they are all anyone is talking about.
I am not against talking about these things or having healthy conversation about issues. Whether you agree or disagree with the person you’re talking to or not it is a great thing to be able to talk respectfully about these things. What better way to share your beliefs and the hope Jesus offers than by engaging in fruitful, respectful, intelligent conversation?
But that is not what is happening. Instead, there is outrage. Blatant, disrespectful, stir the pot, divisive outrage. Instead of sharing our faith through loving but firm conversation, we have taken to browbeating those who don’t agree with what we believe. And when that doesn’t work, we cherry pick Bible verses in order to have the perfect retort to their every point. Now I don’t believe that my friends, myself, or Christians in general are approaching these conversations, these issues, with the sole purpose of showing just how right they are. I know that’s not where my heart is and I would hesitate to say that others heart’s are either. I truly believe that the outrage is coming from a place of love, love for our fellow humans and despairing grief over the fact that they are letting themselves be deceived by this world. We know the TRUTH, the truth as it is written in the HOLY WORD OF GOD, and we are eager to share it to anyone who will listen.
But are we going about it the wrong way?
If I am honest I would have to say yes, yes I think we are going about this all wrong. We are not being loving, supportive, gentle, humble, peaceful, patient, or kind. We are simply outraged. So much so that rage is all that shows. To an outsider looking in, as so many are at this crucial moment in history, rage and hate are all they see. In our zeal to defend our faith, in our efforts to bring the light of the truth to the world, we have become perpetually outraged. We don’t discriminate in the way we show our scorn for the choices people are making, choices that are dangerous and unhealthy and yes, outrageous, but choices that are being made by lost people. People who, at this moment in history more than any other, are searching for love, reassurance that they are worth something, that they matter some how. I think we have lost our ability to see those things in those people. Instead we simply see the issues, their issues.
We don’t see them as God sees them.
We do not love them as God loves them. We do not have the effect we desire because our outrage comes across as hateful vitriol that people tune out as soon as they can. We’ve begun doing the thing that Jesus never, ever did, we’ve begun shaming people. Labeling them, branding them by the name of their sins, stoning them with our words while ignoring one of the most important things.
They have not been saved.
They have not been saved, they have not been washed in the blood, they have not been given the chance to experience God’s overwhelming love and forgiveness. What’s more, we are robbing them of that chance. Every time we post a negative post, a degrading meme, a joke that’s not really funny as much as it is hurtful, or Bible verses that only show what we want them to show, we rob these people of the chance to see the light of Christ shining through us.
So what can we do?
What would God have us do? How do we go about sharing the truth in the loving manner of Jesus? Firmly, adamantly, passionately, but most of all lovingly. We need to remember the time when we were like so many of these people. Lost, afraid, searching for something, anything, to feel like we mattered. We need to remember that at the end of the day Jesus loves the rapist, transgendered man or woman, the homosexual, racist, thieving, alcoholic, pot smoking, promiscuous, and the lost people just as much as He loves us. Just as much. Equally. We are no better than they are. Our only redemptive trait has been given freely by God, we did not earn it. We are not good enough for it. We don’t deserve it. We should not squander it by spreading hate.
So by all means, share your faith, please share your faith! Bring light to these issues. Bring truth to your conversations. But most of all bring love. Loving someone does not mean you have to agree with or accept what they do, it means you have to be able and willing, like God is with you, to see past all their shortcomings and look to what really matters.
I hope we all will remember this as we engage in conversations in person and on Social Media forums. I hope that instead of our perpetual outrage, what people will see from us is love. God’s love.
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