I wasn’t planning on writing tonight. I picked my computer up to play spider solitaire online while I cuddled with my dog (wild Friday night, I know.) But then I broke my fast and got on Facebook to “check in”. Utter mistake. Down the rabbit hole I went….and unsurprisingly, I didn’t like what I found.
I wrote a Facebook post a week or so ago encouraging my friends to be nice to others during this time because-well-everyone is having a hard time right now. And then, I found comments that made my stomach churn on posts regarding a controversial decision by a government official. Even worse, the comments were made by people I know.
It’s interesting how low some people will go to elevate themselves and their opinion, isn’t it?
This week I read the story of Moses to Jack and Wade. One story that jumped out to me was the story of the golden calf. I encourage you to read it for yourself in Exodus 32. It’s so easy to look back at the story of the golden calf and think “How stupid were those people worshiping a cow made of gold after God literally just delivered them?”. I mean for the love of all things-the people walked through the Red Sea and then SACRIFICED to this earring-made animal. God bless the poor animal that was sacrificed to a cow statue.
Now get on Facebook. Read some of the things people are posting about their political affiliations…opinions…and most importantly, the comments they are making on posts contradictory to his or her view. Furthermore, replace the words “golden calf” with the names of the hot-topic-die-hard issues and people that so many are fighting about…. kind of an interesting read, huh? And perhaps, if your heart isn’t hardened, convicting in a way.
It’s both astonishing and saddening that our political ties and affiliations have become idols. So much so, that we speak venomous words about others to whoever will listen. We raise banners in the forms of symbols and flags and we trample the banners of grace, humility and love. I dare say some of us would come a lot closer to laying down his or her life for a “golden calf” in the shape of an elephant or donkey than the life of his/her friend. Even more toxic is the idea that this personal opinion or affiliation supersedes every other opinion and affiliation on the planet, even if it is to the detriment or destruction of other human beings. And I don’t just mean on a national level, but in the way we treat our own friends, family members and neighbors.
People are dying. People are scared. People feel threatened. People feel lied to. People feel deceived. People are on edge. People are sad. People are hurting. People are sick. People are depressed. People are barely making it day to day. People are anxious. People are stressed.
And that’s not even counting the effects of Covid-19, racial injustice, the upcoming presidential election, mask policies, lock-downs, school plans, unemployment, and murder hornets. (Okay so the murder hornets were added to this list as a bit of dark humor but as a naturally paranoid individual I do feel we should address the psychological impact of the name of such an insect).
You get the point.
People are struggling personally because despite the world “stopping”, life hasn’t.
And the worst thing we as Christians can do, is add to the chaos by blending in, rather than standing out-for good.
I think what bothers me the most about what I see on social media these days is the downright disregard for the effects of one’s words much less the realization of a need for change in behavior/response. Words never followed up by a simple “I’m sorry.” Words that reveal the hardened states of the hearts of Christians everywhere.
I have spent the last few weeks doing a lot of self examination and “heart work”. In one of the books I read during this time, the author spent much of her time discussing our need for repentance (for we have A L L sinned) and steps towards reconciliation with those we have hurt. I don’t much like talking about repentance. It makes me uncomfortable. I like to think of myself as a pretty decent human. But when I begin to examine myself closer, I always find sin. I always find flaws in my way of thinking. I always find the need for forgiveness and change.
With all of the thoughts, opinions, decisions, mandates, conspiracy theories and general information flooding our screens and senses, it’s easy to feel like expressing a knee-jerk reaction, especially when the words cut deep. But suppose we as Christians took a different approach-
Suppose-here me out here-that we asked the following when we are offended or accused-rather than ignite an argument:
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”-Psalm 139:23-24
I wonder if we chose to pause and pray the words above before we posted, the change we could create? I wonder if we allowed God to literally break our hearts for what breaks his-if we would see issues from a different perspective? If our political affiliations became less important and our purpose more defined than just a small member of a large party? If we chose to love and learn and lean in-instead of raise our voices and our tempers and our blood pressures? If we loved those in our house-and in our workplaces (or Zoom meetings)-well, even if distanced? If we spent more time in the Word than sharing our words? If we read good books-and ate good food-and devoted ourselves to good work-instead of giving our leaders our bad reviews? If we realized the gift-even in the hardest of seasons-of each new day and didn’t waste it on the need to be right?
Just some late night thoughts…