Thursday, November 19, 2015

Media, Refugees, Vaccines, Politics: How Christians Really Should Be Posting

I've read them all. I can't help it. Every article, post, rant, comment about the refugees. I've read them all--and my heart is still torn.

Torn because I don't receive every homeless person around me into my own home for many of the safety reasons being presented. Our country is in debt trying to take care of its own poor and needy. Why would our country welcome refugees it knows nothing about? And try to support them using money it does not have?

Torn because the Bible is very clear about how, as believers, we are suppose to welcome and care for the poor, the children, the widows, and the foreigners. And I want to be obedient to God's Word with a right attitude. And when I read those stories about the Holocaust growing up, I swore I wouldn't have been one of those people who looked the other way.

So how do you care and not look the other way and still use discretion and wisdom concerning what you let inside your own borders?  I think this is the question our government is trying to answer.  It's just our government doesn't function very well these days. Everyone is at odds with everyone.

Maybe the better question is, as Christians, why do we expect the government to act with a godly mindset? Why is the Church not being held responsible for acting like Christ? And while everyone is trying to make up their minds, what should we the people do in the meantime?

Well, we've got to stop fighting over social media. 

1) Because everyone, no matter which side of the fence you stand on, just ends up showing their worst side of themselves to everyone else behind the anonymity of their device.  Yes, you have a right to your opinion.  Yes, it's a free country. Yes, you can even argue with people over the internet. That's your right too.

But are your arguments and opinions benefiting your cause directly or are they simply a source of tension relief, to feel like you've been "heard"? Are we unifying the body of Christ with our opinions or are we simply causing more division? If you're bracing yourself for an attack before you post, should you even post? Is the Holy Spirit guiding your clicking or is it something else?

I have friends on my Facebook feeds from all sides of every fence, and I read articles and postings from people I care about that share different views about life. I scroll down through the comments, and I see vicious, cruel, unloving words. Christians getting angry with other Christians makes us unattractive to an unbelieving world. (1 Corinthians 6:1-7) Christians getting self-righteous with unbelievers makes us an abhorrent, arrogant, stench in the nostril of unbelievers, and they are turning away from us because of it every day, never to look back, never to read another thing we post.

As Christ followers, we will be attacked by the world and its followers.(John 15:18-21)
We should be responding with grace and truth if we feel the Spirit lead us to respond at all. (Colossians 4:6)
Turning the other cheek is still always an option, my friends. (Matthew 5:38-44)
Speaking the Truth of Jesus in the Holy Spirit led attitude of selfless love is the other option. (Ephesians 4:15)
Honestly, neither are easy. What IS easy is spouting off my opinions while I'm not being led by the Spirit. That's mostly what I read online, what I hear in the tone of so many God-fearing friends whose hearts are good, but whose intentions are not Spirit-led in the moment. I have been just as guilty.

Christ desires for us to be unified in Him, functioning as one unit, as one Body. That's what I really want. To see my dear Christian friends united in grace and understanding toward one another DESPITE their differences in opinion. To be the living, breathing picture of Ephesians chapters 5 and 6. 

2) Because fighting over social media really accomplishes NOTHING. If you want to accomplish something, get a group of your friends together who have the same opinion and write your representatives, organize and participate in a march, a peaceful demonstration of your beliefs, go to your church or local non-profit and see what there is you can already do now, before our government decides. Send money, food, clothes, prayers. Get your hands and lives dirty being the hands and feet of Christ. Seek the heart of God in prayer, real prayer. Get others to pray with you.

And then, AFTER you've done all those things, then maybe you have some first hand, real life opinions to add to the conversation, and that's what this should be, a conversation, not a stand off to the death, not a I'm-right-you're-wrong-so-let's-hash-it-out arena. As with all things, social media can be used for good, to spread hope, love, and the truth about Jesus Christ, but I am so messed up in my flesh that too often that just doesn't happen, and now there's this arena called the internet the devil is using to expose just how not Spirit-led the body of Christ can be--on display for the whole world to see! Wouldn't it be better sometimes to simply not share anything at all?

Reposting various articles from various sources supporting your viewpoint just passes around more fuel for the fire (whether that be intentional or unintentional, the effect is still the same), and honestly, our media is so biased, how do you really know you can believe EVERY WORD written by anyone these days, regardless of what side of the political fence you stand on. Unless you know the author personally, like you have a personal relationship with the person who wrote the article and can vouch for their unbiased journalism or at the very least the integrity of their character, why share at all? 

Satan wants Christians to be divided. To cut the body of Christ into so many pieces it becomes useless, ineffective, and lifeless. We are almost there.

So while God and I still wrestle with where I stand on the issue of refugees, here is where I know I stand...

God is Sovereign. (Isaiah 46:10) He is in control.(Proverbs 19:21) He appointed the leadership of our country. (Romans 13:1) If He directs me to take a stand against the refugees, then I will write my representatives and do my part to sign petitions and take a stand accordingly, without posting articles and opinions on Facebook. I will take action where the Lord directs to influence the decision makers who are not reading the bickering comments of the rabble on social media.

If the Lord directs me to open my home, my heart, my wallet to pour out of myself on behalf of the refugees, then that's what I will do. I will go to my church or find an organization where I can aid in their voice to actually benefit the real people, the refugees themselves. I will follow the voice of the Lord and actually BE the hands and feet of Jesus instead of just talking about what I SHOULD be to a faceless mass who doesn't know me, instead of rallying people to an opinion and a cause that I actually haven't done one physical thing to actually support other than share an article on Facebook.

God knows me. And He knows you.(John 10:14) He knows your heart and hears your prayers, and He doesn't think it always needs to be plastered on social media.(Jeremiah 17:10) He wants it to be plastered across His social media. He wants our knees to the earth and voices raised in intercession for the least of these. He doesn't need our powerless typed words. He needs our powerful spoken ones.  The ones spoken in secret, laced with tears, battling hard for our fellow believers and for those who don't believe.

He wants us to pray fervently for our government and then graciously accept that their decision is allowed by Him and part of His design after we have followed His individual instructions to us in our own lives on how to best influence that leadership.

But the division has got to stop. On every topic. The conversations need to continue, they need to be had, they need to be heard, but this is not the space for it. The space for those conversations should be the four walls of your home or the Starbucks table with a friend. That's where we should have the courage to have the real and the hard conversations. One on one. Face to face.

So my solution, my resolve? If it's an article or post that might aid in the division of the body of Christ, I'm not liking it, sharing it, or commenting on it from this moment on. I won't aid the devil in continuing to divide the people of Christ. I just won't. 

But if you want my opinion about divisive topics, I'll be happy to have those conversations in a more personal space where we can be together and unified and civil and brave--together. Not separated by cyberspace. My prayer for this country and the people of Jesus Christ is that we be unified in love of our Savior and not fall into the snares of the devil, be they ever so sly, ever so slick, ever so seemingly harmless, ever so temptingly well-intentioned. 

God wants His voice to be heard, His story, His heart. We are His messengers. (2 Corinthians 5:20) May our message, in every word and every motive of our heart, always reflect His heart.  And if it doesn't, we are more prudent to stay silent. (Proverbs 17:28)

If it doesn't unify the Body of Christ, then it doesn't glorify Jesus Christ. (Notice I said unity within the body of believers--we will always be at odds with those who don't believe. Trying to achieve unity in that arena is a losing battle, and that's an opinion for another day;)

So to all my family and friends whom I love and who are my brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not give up spurring one another along toward Christ! (Hebrews 10:23-25) But if it's not spurring each other in that direction, let's all choose to pray before we click. That's all I ask, that's how I'm trying to change myself--a prayer before a post, then at the very least as many prayers are being said seeking the heart of God as there are opinions flying around :)

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