Are we missing the mark?

Have you ever just heard one of those songs that stopped you in your tracks, with lyrics that just really hit home?

Brothers, let us come together
Walking in the Spirit, there’s much to be done.
We will come reaching, out from our comforts
And they will know us by our love.

Those lyrics seeming to say everything that you’ve been thinking?

Sisters, we were made for kindness
We can pierce the darkness as He shines through us.
We will come reaching, with a song of healing.
And they will know us by our love!

I’ve been listening to this Christy Nockels song for months and I just can’t get the meaning behind the words out of my head.

The time is now
Come Church arise.
Love with His hands
See with His eyes.
Bind it around you,
Let it never leave you,
And they will know us by our love.

Christians, are we known by our love throughout our lives? What about on social media? Do you think that the world at large, a world that we are called to share the Gospel with, sees Christians as loving? Honestly? Sadly, I think we are missing the mark.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, with this crazy election and all the material it’s given the cynics. There are opportunities at every turn for argument, disagreement, bitterness, and anger when politics come into play, not to mention every day offenses and hurts  And I’m seeing lots of Facebook threads and Instagram feeds where Christians are digging in their heels, sticking out their chins, and picking fights.

Can we just pause for a moment? Can we all agree to do one thing? No matter how important the issue, the theological misstep you’re about to correct, the pro-choice, the anti-gun, the third party voter, the wandering believer, the whatever it is that needs to be set straight — remember one thing.

Jesus died on the cross for that person, just like He did for you. A person with a heart and soul that needs to know Jesus, just like you. A person with feelings you’re about to hurt with the sharp rebuke you are ready to publish. The little send button is so easy to click, isn’t it? Do we even pause any more? Do we even stop to consider how the world of unbelievers, the people we are supposed to be loving!, sees our brutal Facebook arguments? I think we are only destroying the fragile opinion the world has of Christians. We are demonstrating judgement, hatred, prejudice, bitterness – nothing that will make an unbelieving person pause and think, I’d like to get to know them or check out their church. The whole point of demonstrating love to the world is that we would stand out as different, with something in us that a person that doesn’t know Jesus wants. Are we doing that?

nomatterv2Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we should be wishy-washy believers that bend the law to suit our wants. I believe God’s grace is unending, but in no way am I saying that we should abuse that grace by continuing in sin. Eh, whatever – there’s grace for that is not what I am talking about. We need to demonstrate the freedom and peace that comes from living a life that is submitted to the will, law, and grace of God.

I understand that this presidential election is one with heavy, long lasting consequences. I really do. The potential consequences are sobering. When people are saying things you find wrong or offensive, it’s really hard to not jump in. But it’s rare that a mind is changed by a snappy meme or Facebook reply. We need to remember that relationships are at the core of the church. Eroding those relationships is detrimental to the health of the church that we are supposed to be building.

Please, Christians. Let’s stop playing defense and just pause the game for a minute. Think before you respond. Would you say that exact thing if you were talking face to face with that person? Probably not. Are you demonstrating love and respect? Are you in a place of authority in that person’s life? Is it your place to be correcting them? If the answer is no – walk away. God always gives us a way out of temptation and more of us need to take it by stepping away from Facebook. Take concerns to the proper channels. Trust that God has an authority structure in place for a reason. Pray for peace in the situation that has you chomping at the bit to write a snappy response. Don’t sow discord. Let’s start being salt and light to the world, one Facebook fight at a time.

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