I keep seeing status updates on Facebook about the Christian way of living and how one shouldn't wear this or watch this or drink this or read this or go here or vote for this person....etc etc... You know what I'm talking about...
Can I ask that we stop telling the Facebook world the things we refuse to do? Or think? Or say? Or wear? Or read? Or watch? Or drink?
Can we stop giving lists of things we interpret as sin that aren't clearly painted pictures of sin in scripture?
Can we stop condemning people who don't do exactly as we do?
These well meaning posts should be used to aide in the sanctification of your church but not to openly condemn a lost and dying world that knows not to whom they should even call out for help. I'm just not sure the lost people reading these Facebook statuses will ever give ear to the gospel if they frequently read about our judgmental view of a thing they aren't so sure they will ever give up.
Now, you and I know God can work in a heart and drastically change it- but don't they need to hear the gospel first? Of course! It's the key to change in behavior. But it must be God saving the heart first. And even then, let the Holy Spirit do the changing...we can help and give advice, but we are not the ultimate authority ~ and these things we keep posting about aren't even absolutes in scripture...
What if they won't hear of this Jesus from us because of the junk we rant on about every other day of the week? It's called credibility. And so many believers have none because of the inconsistencies seen in them on social media. That's no good.
Go make a private Facebook page for your church and challenge and encourage one another there. And hash out your different views there? Maybe? Or even better, inside the walls of your church, where challenges and rebukes and encouragement in the faith are supposed to be happening. That's what the church is for. Equipping and challenging the saints.
It has bothered me.... because I fear it could be doing more damage than good. Both to the unbeliever and believer. I fear it is painting an inaccurate picture of Jesus and His message for the unbeliever. I fear it is telling brothers and sisters in the Lord that we judge those who don't share our exact same conviction or interpretation of scripture.
Maybe it's just me, but I feel the Christian lifestyle is loving the unlovable, believer or not, right where they are. It's about building relationships with wicked sinners who desperately need a Savior. Our Savior. The One who rescued us!
The lost world should see us loving all kinds of people in a way that shocks their socks off and leaves them lying awake at night wondering why that Christian was so kind when they feel so unworthy.
People don't need a list of behaviors to change. They don't need to see Christians bickering about that list either. They don't need to see us avoiding them at all costs because sin is around or, heaven forbid, in them. Oh, but wait... isn't sin in you and me every single day as well? We are not that different, you know.
- the way we deal with a lost world should be more about what we ARE doing than what we AREN't doing.
We can't expect people to look, talk, act and smell like believers when they don't have it in them at all. There is nothing good in anyone apart from Christ- it is HE who initiates the desire for what is right and good- so we need to love people in their worst of states. The ones we consider too far for the hand of Jesus. Shame on us, I say. Who are we? Is He not sovereign? Did He not save our depraved heart when it was so terribly far from Him? They are not beyond the work of Christ on their heart. But they would have to weed through all of our junk to even get to the beauty of the gospel of Jesus and perfect Love. We are the obstacle a lot of times when we could've had the opportunity to be the segue. It's embarrassing to me.
So that should mean we are seen spending time with all kinds of people. It should look like having a meal, or, help us, a drink with them...It should mean life is lived right in front of them.
It looks like life that screams of hope in suffering and joy in trials and faithfulness when everyone else is turning their back. A friend that stays. And endures. And forgives. And overlooks the externals with the soul in focus. And, dear Christian, our lost friends need to see in us a heart that admits sin and fear and a need for Christ to come and be sufficient - because we are not - and we do not always know the way. A friend that is raw. And real. And present. A burden bearer.
That's the only way Christianity looks any different. When we get real, admit how rotten we were/are, and live out the hope we have because of Jesus.
I know that lost person couldn't care less about a list of Christian shirt lengths that are appropriate to be worn over these leggings, or reasons you can or can't have a beer, or why Christian kids don't play video games, or stores Christians should never shop at, or ways a halftime show was from the devil himself and why a Christian shouldn't ever watch it, or how if you voted for a certain political party you must not love Jesus, or how Christians shouldn't be seen walking down Beale street.... And the list goes on and on and on.... In my news feed..... Every. Single. Day.
You may think you did well to encourage your brother or sister in the Lord. But a lot of times, all you did was heap guilt on your Christian friend who did the something you're ranting about just last week. And do you know what that does? Either a debate ensues for the world to watch unfold on Facebook, or walls go up and churches die, because no one will just get real about doubts and struggles for fear of being judged or ostracized. For crying out loud, let's just get real. But not on Facebook.
All the while, these posts are making a lost man realize, yet again, he is not good enough to even stick his big toe into your legalistic, judgmental world. Nor does he want to.
Please, for the sake of the glory of Christ, love Christians. Stop judging them. Let's post things we WILL do and be for people who just need a friend in the faith. So many church members are lonely. Let's post encouragement. And keep vulnerable, intimate moments just that.
Please, for the sake of eternity - and the idea that a lost man will certainly burn in Hell one day - stop posting a lifestyle ideal their heart is so far from grasping. They'll just keep rolling their eyes at you. Instead, post about ways you desire to help and love people who are hurting. Post hope. Post love. Be there for them. Seek them out individually. Privately. With kind words. Or better yet, call them on the phone or sit down to lunch with them.
The eye rolls stop when you really meet someone right where they are and actually listen and give and sacrifice and love. To a fault.
Love, like Jesus did it. Not like the Bible Belt 'moral code' told you to do it.