It occurred to me today that social media plays a very important role in my life. It forces me to recognize that there are people who don’t think like I do, or enjoy the same things I do, or even share a common value system with.
I, like many people, have spent most of my life surrounding myself with those who look like me, sound like me, and think like me. Specifically, I have spent my life surrounded by church goers of a conservative bent. When I have had to be around those ‘others’, I have been uncomfortable and couldn’t wait to get back to ‘normal’ people.
Now that I spend quite a bit of time on Facebook, it being my primary source of interaction with friends, I am finding a great big weird world out there! With over 400 friends, most of whom are friends of friends, it is not uncommon for me to see posts that challenge my thinking, annoy me, even revile me. Every day I find myself rehearsing a snide comment or a sharp rebuke to a post, only to choose to let the opportunity go past. It would be easy to ‘un-friend’ people who are different or to verbally look down my ‘oh-so-righteous’ nose at them.
But is that what my Lord would do? No! He would find ways to engage them in conversation and kindly, lovingly show them His way. He would not berate or call names. He would not attempt to right every wrong or tell people they were ignorant or stupid. He would try to draw them to Himself with friendliness and love. I don’t believe He would shrink from engaging in a difficult conversation about morals or values nor would He stop short of calling sin what it is at the appropriate moment.
Now, I am not my Lord, so there are some conversations He could have that I cannot. Specifically, I can’t read someone’s heart, nor do I have a perfect understanding of His plan and will. What I do have is His Word. Where It speaks to a subject, I should let It speak for itself. I have the Spirit within me so that, if I am listening to Him, He will tell me what I should say (or not).
The Apostles spent time at the social media of their day, the temple and the places where people gathered to discuss the issues of the day. They were called to engage ideas and culture for the Lord. I must do no less. I cannot be afraid of offending for the message I bring is offensive to those who choose to ignore it. That does n0t mean I should be offensive in the way I present it. While I am convinced of the Truth of the message I bring, I must remember that even my Lord does not force His will on those He seeks to minister to. And like Him and the Apostles, I can expect to be rejected and abused for my faith.
Lord, give me
the Courage to speak the Truth in Love at the right time,
the Self-Control to refrain from speaking when the time is not right, and
the Wisdom to know the difference.