Updated: Jan 14
(My comment on Facebook today)
I’m getting older now . . . but I can still learn.
In our world, social-media is not very social. If anything, it is caustic; it has become an acid that dissolves most meaningful conversation. One thing I am trying to get through my thick, old skull is that when someone has bought into a lie, prayer is a much better option than debate — and far less stressful.
Prayer dispenses with all of the yelling, name-calling, and dismissive language that only deepens the divide. Bite your tongue, excuse yourself from the conversation, bow your head, and lay the matter at the feet of Jesus.
You see, here’s the thing. God called me to win men, not arguments. If I win an argument but lose the man - I fail the call of God.
I get it . . . I really do. There is a lot to be angry about today. Things are happening so fast –– and not good things –– it is difficult to keep our emotions in check. We get angry, we get frightened, and very often we find ourselves in a defensive posture. I am purposely not speaking directly to any of the issues, because the issues are different for all of us. I know what it feels like to post an opinion on social media and like a plague of locusts the rain of derogatoriness and accusations begin to fall. The concept of civil discourse has long been abandoned by this generation in favor of cancellation and personal humiliation.
It is said that the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword, able to divide bone from marrow. I have found that social media is more like a dull meat cleaver that mutilates all parties involved. Social media almost never actually gets to the truth, but it certainly stirs up the fleshly inclinations of all parties. In the end, we are less concerned about the truth of a matter and focused only upon defeating our opponent. I’m not suggesting that Christians should withdraw from social media. I am suggesting that we remember that one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control.
Of all the benefits of self-control one of the most critical is the ability to keep our priorities in their proper order. As a Christ-follower, my greatest priority should be the glory of God. What I do and say (and how I say it) impacts the reflection of God's character that is seen in my life. I need always to take care that my behaviors do not give sinful men an opportunity to curse God. I cannot allow any issue, debate, or argument, no matter how important it might be, to sway me from living “to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1)
Another high priority of the Christian life is the winning of men to Christ. It may seem like a simplistic concept, but one we need to face: If I am bent upon defeating men in an argument, how am I to win them to Christ? Yes, we need to contend with men and the foolishness of human wisdom, but I have to keep reminding myself that the goal of contending with men is not to defeat them, but to win them –– to Christ –– so they may share in the fellowship I have in Jesus (1 John 1).
I am not preaching at you my friend. I am simply recording for you the sermon that I am preaching to myself. I find myself asking God for help in these matters more and more every day. As the atmosphere around human interaction grows more and more caustic, I am asking God to help me remain conscious of two primary objectives: To live that I might bring God glory in the eyes of men, and to realize that God has called me to reconcile men to Him through Christ Jesus (he has given us the ministry of reconciliation), that they might enjoy eternity with Christ.
God did not call me to win arguments, He called me to win men.
God did not call me to save America, He called me to extend the Kingdom of Christ.
God did not call me to reign supreme in social media debates - He called me to declare the goodness, and mercy, and grace of the Savior who gave all that men might be saved.
One of the ways I am learning to keep these priorities straight is to bite my tongue, excuse myself from the conversation, bow my head, and lay the matter at the feet of Jesus.
Pray for me, please.