Christians, 2020 has been quite a year so far. We have had a pandemic, quarantine, protests, riots, mandates, and we are only a little over halfway through the year. With all of the chaos, we have had to deal with new and unusual situations, people, circumstances, recommendations, rules, regulations, guidelines, not to mention an upcoming election. This has been a year to bring things to the surface that have probably always been there, but it took some heat to bring them to the surface. As we face new and unusual circumstances, we see the world acting and then reacting to each other (especially with social media) at a very rapid pace. So what do we do, how do we do it? As Christians, our response is always Love.
How do we love people that are acting completely contrary to how we act, or speaking contrary to how we speak, or pushing for rules, regulations, or mandates we may not agree with? It can be frustrating, it can be difficult, but it can be done! We must take ourselves out of our emotions and respond from what the Word of God says to do, and that is to love God and our neighbor as ourselves. When we get our heart in line with God and His Word, then we will have the right response for people in any situation and circumstance that arises.
If you have watched any news, social media, or videos, you have probably seen many instances of people NOT having the right response. So if we act like they do, then we are acting no differently than the world. We have been given many opportunities to respond to messages, comments, videos, and posts over the last 7 months. We must realize that we should not do as the world does, but rather we must do as the Lord leads us to do. I am not saying that there is never a time to respond, but you really have to make sure HOW and WHY you respond align with God and His word. Even re-posting someone else’s negative post, or liking someone’s inappropriate post sets a bad example of what we represent.
Jesus set the example for us to follow while He went through the greatest test and trial we have never faced. Being falsely accused, publicly shamed, and innocently crucified to death. Yet during this people spit on Him, telling him to prophesy who did it. They beat Him, mocked Him, on the way to the cross and on the cross. They told Him to get himself down from there. Even through all of this, He didn’t respond, He didn’t do anything to put them down, but rather, He turned the other cheek. Jesus had all power, authority, and right to get out of the situation and respond harshly with them, but He endured it, He loved them enough to endure it for them.
I am not comparing our putting up with people on social media or people that we encounter in real life with Jesus’ sacrifice and dying on the cross. I am simply stating that if Jesus responded correctly, then we should be able to have the right response when confronted and offended by people in this world. We should be able to stand for righteousness without putting anyone down for their beliefs, thoughts, actions, or posts. People are watching us as Christians. They are seeing how we respond, what we say and do. If we are as wretched as the lost, then how would we ever draw anyone to a better, more fruitful peace filled life?
It is not wrong to get upset about things. My wife and I talk frequently about current events, posts, clips, quotes, actions taken by people. We are frustrated, but we do not go online and rant and rave to strangers. We have conversations where we can discuss and explain things in person. We pray. We seek God about what to do, what to say, and how to act. We understand that man has the first word, but God will have the last word about EVERYTHING!
Passion for righteousness, truth, justice, peace, love, and unity is good to have and use. However, we should never let our witness suffer in the pursuit of those passions. You can completely disagree with someone, what they are doing, what they are saying, and still love them unconditionally. How do I know? Because Jesus asked for forgiveness for the very people crucifying Him. That is our example. That is the standard.
Father God, help us to love like you love, forgive like you forgive, and to show people around us a different way. We pray for strength and unity in the Church. We pray for wisdom and guidance through these uncertain times. We pray for strength and endurance to finish strong, in Jesus Name, Amen.
Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart. Proverbs 17:3 (NLT)
Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be tried, smelted, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but the teachers and those who are wise shall understand. Daniel 12:10 (AMPC)
And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 13:30-31 (AMPC)
By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves]. John 13:35 (AMPC)
Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (AMPC)
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)
For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in His steps.1 Peter 2:21 (NLT)
“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. Matthew 5:38-39 (NLT)
Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat Him with their fists. And some slapped him, jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?” Matthew 26:67-68 (NLT)
And Jesus prayed, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And they divided His garments and distributed them by casting lots for them. Luke 23:34 (AMPC)
written and posted by Daniel Poggensee | 2020