I’m starting to see certain issues as red flags. And this is an improvement for me as it gives me a chance to slow down and proceed with caution. With any luck, I’ll avoid making the mistakes of my past.
Social media is one of those places. I’ve noticed a trend.
Gun violence occurs over the weekend, Monday morning the blogs and comments roll out about gun control.
Terrorist attack over the weekend, Monday morning the blogs and Facebook posts roll out on immigration.
Wherever you stand on these issues, these aren’t the issues that Jesus was worried about. They tried to corner Him politically by asking a tax question, and He replied with the famous, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what belongs to God”. He had no interest in the quibbles of the day. He was on an eternal soul mission, which to God, was much more important.
So, if you are the enemy, and you have already lost, what can you do to try and bring down as many people with you as possible? My guess is to keep people off track. Off mission. Jesus said, “I have to be about my Father’s business”. And so should we. But if we can get sidetracked, especially over issues that divide, then we become easy pickings for the Devil.
It’s OK to give him the credit, he is incredibly smart (conniving). In my mind social media has become the roll call of the Devil. He wants to see how many people he has steered off track. How many people he has taken away from the Father. And so after every event, he watches. What will they post about?
Will they post about God and His forgiveness? Will they talk about love and salvation? Will they build each other up and focus on the hope the world has? Or will they go back to gun control, immigration, taxes, foreign policy, racial tensions, etc, etc, etc. Hand up , hand up, slowly raised hand up. It’s a temptation just like any other.
To fire up the log-in page, cracking knuckles and salivating at what argument you have prepared… that is falling into the trap. It’s no different than passing by the adult book store, the drug dealer, or the bookie. You have a choice to act on the feelings you get. And you will act on them. The question is, in what way will you act. Will you pass by and pray and continue to work through whatever addiction you face. Or will you give in and raise that hand for the devil?
Some of you may be thinking that I’m advocating we can’t ever discuss politics. That is not my intention. My point is that Christians should be known for Christ. Not political stances. If you have a political blog, that is the perfect place to post about politics. But many of us are blurring that line between God and Caesar. We use our religious platforms to share political spin.
I’m reminded of the Bible story of the man who wanted to go to Heaven. He confronted Jesus and told of all he had done. It was an impressive list of sacrifice, worship, and honoring God. He asked what else can I do? Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19) After hearing Jesus’ answer, the man became sad and walked away because he was rich.
He wanted both. He wanted to blur the line. He wanted a foot in heaven and one in the world. Jesus basically said, I need you all in. I need all of you. But the man wanted to keep his possessions. For those trying to minister somehow in social media… God wants all of you. We can’t leave one foot in political turmoil and then try and share the story of peace and hope while bickering amongst ourselves.
Jesus prayed for unity for us. He knew the world would face fear and uncertainty and when they turned to look at those who called themselves “like Christ” He wanted them to see a united front pointing to the Savior. How does that look when some of us are using the pulpit to sway votes, or counter unrelated arguments? I find it equally offensive when someone from Hollywood uses the entertainment stage as when someone from the church uses the religious stage. Outside messages don’t belong in either place.
I love talking politics with the correct minded individual. (just like me? no? but able to calmly discuss views that might not be our own). I can’t do that with strangers on the internet. Tone can’t be inflected, facial features can’t be portrayed. And no matter how many words I choose to try and drill down the point, someone will always miss it (most of the time its my fault). So, like Jesus, I save politics for when its kosher to do so. And the rest of my public life… I pray I’m always about the Father’s business.
What if, when the next disaster strikes, we see the red flag and avoid that topic altogether? Instead, we pointed to the King who can get us through anything. What if we helped people past their fears and gave them hope? Many of us get these two issues backwards. We worship in secret and the whole world knows our political stances. There is a reason they put the curtain on the election booths. I believe we should vote in secrecy, contact your representatives, write to law makers, donate as you see fit, etc. But all of that can be done without a single person knowing. Then let the whole world see Jesus.