It doesn’t take much scrolling through my social media feeds to find angry posts from my fellow believers. Posts driven by politics and posts that use terms like “Brainless”, “ignorant”, “dummies”, “delusional”, and “morons” to describe those that they disagree with.
These posts intentionally foment others to anger. These posts degrade and dehumanize. These posts bring out the worst. These posts accomplish little, aside from sparking unproductive conversations among the like-minded or venomous arguments with the opposition.
Sprinkled between these posts are the other posts - Bible verses, photos of mission trips, check-ins at church. There is a stark contrast between the posts that praise God and those that denigrate those made in His own image. As a believer, I am called by God to speak out when my brothers and sisters are acting in a way to alienate themselves from His word and His commandments to us. This responsibility carries even more weight when it comes to holding church leaders accountable, as their influence is wide and far-reaching.
I have tried to follow my calling of accountability and have been met with resistance. Repeatedly. A protection of the political, the angry, the degrading. A willingness to compromise on the commandment that is “above all” - to love each other deeply.
How quickly the love ebbs so the hate can flow.
I keep looking back at Jesus’ life here on earth and seeing His love and compassion for the lost. His call for justice for the least, the lost and the left out. When His followers tried to make Him into a conquering king and political hero, He rejected that. He didn’t reject it because He was weak, or because it was too hard. He rejected it because it is not what we need. It is not what this world needs. They wanted a conquering king and but were blessed with a humble servant. He dined with the poor, the sinners, the marginalized. They came to Christ because Christ came to them. And His followers wrote things like “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20).
Stephen Mattson puts it like this:
“Political parties are tasked with many things, but carrying out the Gospel isn’t one of them. Yet Christians continue to fall into the sinful temptation of limiting the practice of their faith according to their political beliefs, and they’re often only willing to follow Jesus up to the point where it’s agreeable to their partisan ideologies.
“Followers of Christ must realize that the Kingdom of Heaven will never be fully realized through worldly governments or carnal politics, but rather through the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. And according to the Bible, we can tell what the fruits of this type of Godly kingdom look like: joy, peace, happiness, self-control, charity, grace, forgiveness, justice, hope, and love.”
As Christians, our goal is not to convert people to a political party. The Republicans cannot offer eternal life. The Democrats cannot forgive our sins. Jesus was not a conservative. Jesus was not a liberal. Jesus was, and is, the way, the truth, and the light.
This is Jesus:
“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’
On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” (Matthew 9:9-13 NIV)
When I see these posts, I admit that I am fearful. I am fearful because these posts make us look hateful. I am fearful because these posts galvanize the views of those who reject Christianity. I am fearful because these posts drive God’s image-bearers away from the One who created them. The One who saved them. The One who died so that we may be with Him eternally. The One who so loves the world.
Let us draw near to them as Christ has drawn near to us.
I haven’t done social media perfectly - not even close. But there are two things I always try to do before I post:
Ask myself what I hope to accomplish with my post.
Use the filter of God’s word before I post - here’s the verses I keep in mind:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
Christ has to mean more to us than our political agendas. He alone is our Savior.
Let the hate ebb so the love may flow.
Written by Dede and Delaney Lomenick