How did we know how crazy people were before social media?
Despite what some folks might say, the biggest enemy of Christianity is not Islam, Atheism, or the President; no, the ones who do the most damage to Christianity are Christians- more specifically those persons who claim to follow Christ but consistently spew hatred, prejudice, bigotry, and intolerance. I imagine that this has been the case for as long as Christians have existed, but with social media providing a platform and giving a voice to just about anyone who wants an audience it has become all the more apparent just how damaged and flat-out broken we “followers of Christ” truly are.
Perhaps the worst part about it, though, is that many of us are oblivious or simply don’t care about the damage we cause to others in Jesus’ name. Unfortunately for those of us trying to minister to young persons, that damage is a real problem and can’t be ignored. I’ve lost track of the number of conversations I’ve had with college students about why they no longer go to a church or have any interest in the spiritual aspect of what we do as a ministry that end up centering on some past hurt (or multiple hurts) inflicted upon them by a church, a pastor, or by some person touting “Christian values.” Sadly, many of those same young persons often say something along the lines of, “Jesus was a great guy, but his followers are [expletive deleted] jerks.”
While such damage may never be fully repaired, there is a simple way that we can prevent further damage from occurring: stop being [expletive deleted] jerks.
Seriously, let’s just cut it out.
No, it won’t be quite that easy; it’ll probably take a whole lot of praying, repenting, and seeking God. In the meantime, though, we can follow that simple rule that our moms (and Thumper) tried to teach us: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” In other words, just because we have the means to spout whatever hate-filled crap we’re thinking and label it as “from God” doesn’t mean we have to. Yes, there’s a time and a place for “standing up for God” and speaking out against true injustices, but sometimes the best way to show that we are dedicated followers of Christ is to just keep our mouths shut.
And if we absolutely have to say something, can we at least do our best to choose words that reflect God’s grace, mercy, and love?
It’ll require effort, but do it for the young persons who need Jesus; do it for our Savior who died so that all might know him; do it for the God we so zealously claim to serve.
If nothing else, do it for me- it’d be awesome if I could check my Facebook feed without fearing what I’ll find.