I hate when I sit down at the end of the day to “unwind” and I end up scrolling through my newsfeed for over an hour. I rarely watch the actual news anymore. It’s all bad. But Facebook can be even worse. When you see individuals constantly demonizing, generalizing, and dehumanizing other people because of their opposing beliefs it can be extremely demoralizing. Complete strangers and friends of friends are suddenly willing to cast all thoughtful discussion to the side and fight a commenting war in which each person is fueled by sensationalized news and very few facts. As a Christian, in these situations, I often find myself at a crossroads between truth and love. As I scroll through the comments and posts filling my newsfeed, I am instantly reminded of that scene in Bambi where Thumper is criticizing the young deer as he is learning to walk. His mother corrects him and asks Thumper to recall what his father taught him about how to talk to others. Thumper recites the words, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” This is not only good advice, it is Biblical. But it doesn’t mean we throw out the truth. It means we speak the truth, in LOVE. And I would add, probably not on Facebook.
Speaking the truth in love is what Jesus did and we can become more like Christ by practicing what he preached. Ephesians 4:15 says this, “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”
When Paul is speaking to the church in Corinth he says this, “If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.”
When asked what commandment was the most important Jesus responds, “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
It is pretty clear that as followers of Jesus,
love should be the ultimate filter for every word we
type, speak, and even whisper.
So, what is love? It is not love to simply say, I love you. It is an action. If we want to be a true representation of Christ’s sacrificial love on earth we need to love sacrificially. We need to set aside our pride and humbly ask others why they are hurting. We need to set aside our grievances and ask others why they are grieved. Because love is not self centered. It’s not easy. And sometimes love even hurts.
1 Corinthians 13, 4-7 defines Christian love like this:
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
As I finish writing these words I feel like I have been writing a note to myself. I have made the mistake time and time again to argue my point of view against someone with a different belief. But what is the point? Am I trying to prove I am right? Or am I trying to show people the love of Jesus? Honestly, I have to admit it has almost always been to prove a point. Moving forward, I have settled on 3 questions to guide me on my social media endeavors. Before I comment, I ask:
- Is it my goal to glorify myself or Jesus?
- Is what I am saying spoken in love?
- Have I taken the time to listen and understand the other person’s circumstances and feelings?
Jesus I pray that your Spirit would come over me. I pray that I would be forgiven for the times I have chosen love of myself over love for you and other people. I pray that you would create in me a Spirit filled life, a life defined by your love. Jesus, I know that you are close to the brokenhearted. I pray that I would follow that example. I pray that I would reach out to the crushed in spirit, the hurt, and those needing to be rescued. I pray that I would seek you and your kingdom first, leaving behind selfish ambition and pride. Thank you Jesus that you have already won the war. I don’t need to prove anything. I only need to love people. Amen.