Recently I found myself sucked into a comment section on Facebook. Train wreck, right?! You just can’t look away. Guilty as charged. Anyway, much like the meme of Michael Jackson eating popcorn in the movie theatre, so too was I glued to the commentary. Yet as I read on it started to effect me like it typically does; it saddened me.
Usually somewhere in the mix of social media arguments today you’ll spot common comments about the presidency, words thrown around like “hypocrite,” and there’s always somebody eager to carry the gavel and judge someone else’s level of Christianity. Whatever that is.
“That’s not what Jesus would do!”
Or my favorite, “So you call yourself a Christian?”
We all become apparent experts in what God would say about the subject at hand, and we’re quick to make snap judgments on not only the other person’s character, but also their walk with the Lord. Because apparently what kind of Christian you are is entirely based on what blurts out of your typing fingertips in anger.
First off, this isn’t a judging post. Lol. Anytime I write a blog on the subject of judging, a kind citizen is quick to say, “Hey, you’re judging that person for judging,” and by the end we’re all scratching our heads in a “do what” gesture. I’m not saying what anyone else should do. I’m gonna share what I try to do because as always I’m a work in progress.
How we appear in the social media world as Christians is a big deal. I won’t lessen that fact. We’re to be salt of the earth, and we’re to shine the Lord’s light in a special way that draws others in, not push them away. So, yes, I think it’s important to do your best to be a good example to others, to treat others with grace and kindness, and my particular favorite, to run it all through a filter of love. I try to take every thought captive and run it through the love filter before it comes out. I’m not perfect at that, though, and I’m sure I’ve blogged a thing or two that lacked compassion in a WWJD kinda way.
But here’s the thing. I’m human, and I’m trying. That’s how it is with all of us, or most of us. So many of us who bear the title Christian are imperfect people. Loving Jesus doesn’t make us without fault. We still get hurt, angry, offended, and say or do things without thinking. Yet we are saved by grace. All Christians have that in common, but it’s not a trait we practice as much as it’s given by God, and it’s certainly not one extended to us on social media platforms. Shouldn’t it be, though?
If you post something inappropriate does that mean you don’t love the Lord? Of course not, and it’s not my place to try and guess the inner workings of your heart. So while I’m at a place in my walk with Jesus where I might think twice before posting inappropriate content for all to see, that doesn’t mean I expect everyone to adhere to the standards God has given me. We’re all on a journey, and the only one who knows where you’re at along the way, or even your final destination is God Himself.
If you fall into the trap of pointless bickering on Facebook that doesn’t imply anything of note about your relationship with Jesus. It may not be what some would do, or what I would do, but I’m not you. And you’re not me. I have my own shortcomings, as we all do, and perhaps it’s best to remove the plank from our own eye before pointing out the sawdust in someone else’s.
So, yeah, I think Christians have a responsibility to uphold the character of Christ and the sterling reputation of our Heavenly Father, but sometimes we will fail. And nothing burns my biscuits more than the people who wait in the bushes for someone titled “Christian” to say something or do something less than perfect. It’s like, oh my gosh, that Christian just put someone else down so let’s stone the entire institution of Christianity. After all, they’re all hypocrites. But does one apple really ruin the barrel. Apparently so.
I know I’m imperfect. I know I mess up. So you won’t see me judging someone else when they do. You won’t see me get into a shouting match (via typed text) over who is the worst person around. I think we’re all pretty crappy! But God loves us anyway. That’s what Christianity is. It’s not about, “Hey, I’m perfect. Watch me and emulate that.” It’s an invitation that goes like this.
As a Christian I say, “Hey, I’m really messed up. I’ve done some awful things in the past. I asked for forgiveness and now I try really, really hard to not foul it all up. But sometimes I do. We may disagree on stuff, but I still love you. Wanna come over and hang out in my Dad’s house? No judgement here.”