Love one another.
About a week before Christmas, a “scandal” broke out on the world wide web. If you have a Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram account, then you no doubt know what I’m referring to. But this post isn’t about the scandal itself, but rather what happened in social media as a result of said scandal. It. was. ugly. I watched as friends posted memes, links, opinions, petitions, and the like. With each new post, I cringed, I winced, I wondered if Satan was happy with the firestorm he’d created. (I’ll write more about this another time, but I want to pause and state MY OPINION that I firmly believe Satan played a huge part in this storm and he probably relished watching Christians turn on each other, mere days before we were to celebrate the birth of our Savior.)
And turn on each other we did…
Everyone had an opinion, a thought, and demanded it be heard. Hey, I’m as opinionated as they get (just ask my husband or sisters or parents), but there’s a time and a place. And in my opinion, social media just isn’t it. We can’t understand the emotions behind the words. Facial expressions, tone of voice, and mannerisms can convey so much more about our hearts and motives than black and white words. With black and white words, the reader can interpret intentions that aren’t there, or assume the worst. In my humble opinion, those conversations should be taking place in person, face-to-face, in real life relationships, where hopefully love and respect color the words in those hard conversations.
I’ve been struggling lately. I’ve noticed a trend in which everyone seems to know how to do the “Christian” thing better or more correctly than the person next to them. I’ve mentioned before that God has really been speaking to my heart about keeping my focus on Him. I often get distracted by those around me, measuring my walk against theirs, wondering why my convictions aren’t their convictions, believing that my Christian walk is better or worse than theirs.
It’s a dangerous place to be. I think that any time someone (me) believes they know how to do this Christian thing better than someone else, it’s a pride issue. And one step away from falling off a cliff.
I find myself having pep talks with myself on a
daily, strike that, an hourly basis. “Do not look left or right, Jenn. Keep your eyes straight ahead, on God. Your only responsibility is to respond to the convictions He has placed on YOUR heart. Worry about YOUR attitudes, YOUR mind, YOUR obedience, YOUR calling.” And I’m wrestling with some major convictions, some areas where I’m just uncomfortable. I don’t yet know how God is calling me to obey in those areas, but they’re there. And they’re mine alone. I do not get to judge you based on those same convictions, I have no idea what God has called you to obedience on.
I just can’t help but wonder how different the Church would look if we all focused on ourselves, our walks with God, and answering for our own convictions. There’s no need to condemn one another if our beliefs don’t line up. If you feel convicted to lead the charge on social justice, then that is where God has called you. If you feel led to answer the call of caring for the widows and orphans, then follow it. Some of us will feel called to enter the mission field overseas, in our backyards, or in the public schools, and others will want to focus on the mission field in our homes. None of these are wrong, none are more right than the others, and all are very much part of God’s eternal plan.
Focus. Focus on where you’ve been called, focus on your obedience, stop believing that there is only one right way to answer the call to follow Jesus Christ. We all have different strengths, weaknesses, and passions. For a reason. And when they work together, as I imagine God intended, there is nothing that can stop the Church and perhaps, they WILL know us by our love.