How many of you have had to unfriend or unfollow friends or family members because of things they have posted on Facebook? You can’t see it from where you are sitting, but I am raising my hand. I hope it doesn’t shock you to know that I have even unfollowed (never unfriended) church members.
For those of you not on Facebook, this means that I no longer see their posts, but I remain ”friends” with them. But am I really? I tell myself that I am doing this for my peace of mind, as some folks post things that get me riled up. But it doesn’t say much about me that I can simply cut them off in that way. On the other hand, when I see them on Sundays, I don’t recall ten offensive things that they posted during week. Perhaps this ensures that my approach to them can be open and without hesitation. Is it better not to know?
A healthier way to handle these things would be to have a real life conversation and see if we could establish places of agreement, or at least try to drop our differences. Understanding someone’s perspective can lessen the sting of disagreement. You may never think alike, but understanding how someone came to their opinion can open up a relationship. And it’s biblical.
The truth is, we are constantly assessing each other by external things. Physical appearance, the size of our homes and cars, the things we put on social media, the amount of jewelry we wear, the kind of company we keep … these are the metrics by which we evaluate one another.
But is that the way God desires us to behave? Is that the way God evaluates us?
2 Corinthians (The Message)
16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new.
Paul reminds us that God looks upon the heart, and so should we. We are called to look beyond the superficial things and really consider the quality underneath.
I dearly love a man who posts things that make me roll my eyes and shake my head. But his capacity for helping people in need is enormous. He is willing to extend himself to the marginalized in ways that impact the kingdom. He allows God to use him in places where I would dare not go. When I see a post that raises the hair on the back of my neck, I need to remember these things.
The old life is gone; a new life emerges! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives.
This is a powerful teaching. We are Christ’s representatives in the world. How are you doing with that? Can people see Jesus in your interactions? Can others feel the power of God’s love through what you say and do? Are your posts winning others to the Kingdom?
God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.
This hit me hard today, because I would rather not engage with people who think differently than me. This is wrong. God persuades us to drop those differences and join together in an effort to make things right. Will we ever agree? Nope. Do we have enough in common to build upon? Yep. I need to remember that any friend of God is a friend of mine.
21 How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.
Let us move forward in this Lent season and work to make things right between us.