Culture, society, and social media have been screaming in all sorts of directions, with all kinds of emotions, and motives weighing in.
I pray, in the midst of everything, that we don’t forget how much relationships matter, how meaningful people are, and that without relationship, civility, and respect, we cannot continue “The Great Commission” of leading others to Christ nor be a strengthener and encourager to our fellow Christian sisters and brothers.
I pray we cling to biblical truths (not just by declaration) but in doing so, let’s not sacrifice the top values and characteristics God calls us to: love, humility, considerate speech and action, grace, consistency, and endurance.
It’s stated here so well:
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. (I Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT)
It is easy for us to get lured into thinking our words and actions are justified. Our typing fingers are fueled by hyped-up emotions, and out flow words from what our mind and heart is feeling at that time. Sometimes, yes, there are intellectual facts that are said. There are truths that are said. But how many of these words are laced with the attitude of offense, pride, and rudeness? How many sentences are said with irritation? How many times are comparative issues brought up that tally wrongs to an individual and bring shame to make a point on how wrong they are, and how right we are? How many comments on social media display a giving-up attitude, demonstrate how we have lost faith in the best, are demeaning, or result in us walling ourselves off from an individual in the heat of the discussion?
There’s a lot of this taking place on social media (and off), but social media is where these “bold” arguments and attitudes really come out. However, it affects real relationships. It’s taking place with a lot of Christians, and it’s all the opposite of what this paragraph from the Bible clearly highlights.
Don’t shut the door on people. Especially if you were part of the problem in how an argument was fueled. Unless someone is dangerous or toxic in your life, is there a good reason to just give up, shut them out, wall up, or unfriend someone in the course of poor conversation?
May we also remember verse 13: “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
These have everlasting impact.
All these verses matter more than how intellectual the material is that you throw into an argument.
All these verses matter more than how dramatic you post a social media status, make a “jab” at someone, or defriend someone. If you need to “unfollow” them or “hide newsfeeds” for your own mental/emotional/mood balance, then do so. You don’t need unnecessary stressors. Balancing your intake is wise.
All these verses matter more than constantly trying to make your point about a subject. Instead, speak truth, but live it out and may you be known for your character and your choices. May your attitude reflect your faith, hope, and love the most.
My challenge and encouragement to you: Use these verses to refine you and hold you accountable to your thought life, outlook toward others, and response toward others. What is going to matter in the end for God’s Kingdom? I ask myself often, “Do I really need to say this?” “Is it imperative and truly positively impactful for others for me to even enter into this discussion?” “Do I need to comment because I can and have an opinion? Or is the way I live and what I say day-to-day give more value without impeding on someone else’s conversation?” If someone comments a certain way, I can ignore it or respond without fueling it wrongly, or if it’s out of line, I can simply delete it. Saying what we want without second thought may feel good in the moment, but that is the release of “venting,” not the effectiveness of building. And, folks, we want to BUILD!
Build others up. (It doesn’t mean we’re enabling something we deeply believe is wrong…we can build up people, without enabling them.)
Build God’s Kingdom.
I randomly desire to sit and relax at a campfire with good company on a grey-skied day and a cool breeze.