Obviously Jesus would not be watching porn online. But I doubt too many of us think He would. And so I am pretty sure that most of us don’t actually think we are acting Christian online when we indulge in such behaviours. The fact that, statistically, we as Christians don’t fare much better in such obviously wrong behaviour is deeply disturbing.
I guess it shows just how much we believe the lies of the world around us. We justify such behaviour as normal, pointing out that all guys do it. But it is not “normal” for a Christian to struggle with porn. It is normal for a Christian to identify himself with the complete work of the cross. Jesus died to forgive us, but He also died so we might be free. It is normal for a Christian to take sin seriously and to claim the full new covenant promise, and to ask the Holy Spirit to “cause us to walk in righteousness.”
Today, however, I want to address our interactions online. Reading social media comments left by Christians online is truly heart breaking. Have we really lost the picture of how Jesus interacted with others? Did he ever respond to them in the way we respond online? Would He really tell the broken people who as yet have no understanding of Christ to “get lost” (I am saying it kindly here) just because they disagree with our views as Christians?
Honestly, it’s not just online. It is also in the way we talk about the sports stars, movie stars, famous musicians, and politicians. We say things about them we would never say to their face if we met them in real life. That we can shrug that off without a ping of conscience is unfortunate. Celebrity or not, they are real human beings.
Every human being deserves the love of Christ. Just because I don’t know them, doesn’t give me the right to attack them, or gossip about them. And it definitely does not give me the right to lambaste them when they disagree with me as a Christian. Even when they are harshly critical of me.
Nobody will recognize me as a Christian because I won the argument or had the smarter thing to say. Nobody will know I have been with Jesus because I am right.
People will know we have been with Jesus because we love those who don’t love us. That is just as true online as it is in real life. I know there are Christian leaders who still need to learn this too. Then maybe they would set better examples for us to follow. But we can look at how Jesus responded to people. Model Him. Treat people with the same kind of love He treated everyone around Him.
One day the religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus that had been caught having sex with a guy that wasn’t her husband. What she did was wrong. The law said she should be stoned. This was the law God had given them. But Jesus surprised them. Instead of condemning her, He asked them to think of their own sins. And when they did, they found their desire to stone her disappear. And one by one they left.
The only people Jesus responded harshly too, were the religious leaders of the day. They were supposed to be the guardians of God’s grace, but instead, they had become the judges of right and wrong. They loudly pointed out other people’s shortcomings, but conveniently forgot their own. Today, those religious leaders are you and me.
We are supposed to be the messengers of the Good News. Instead, we speak loudly of the sins of the culture around us, while we justify our own sins. Online or offline, we need to think first of our own sins before we speak. We need to be more concerned about learning to walk in grace in our own life than whether others are walking in truth. We need to become a bit introspective.
The law was given to us to teach us to love. Not so we could judge others. If we use it to judge others, we better be very careful. We might just be breaking the very spirit of the law by doing so. The law says: don’t steal from your neighbour; because stealing from your neighbour is not a very loving thing to do. It says: don’t kill; because well, killing isn’t such a kind thing to do either. It says to honour your father and mother because that is how to love them. It also teaches us how to love God.
Remember that the law was given to you to learn from for yourself. Not so you could use it on others. Is it something we can teach? Absolutely! But if we do that while we forget it was intended to teach us to love, we will break the very spirit of the law. We desperately need a ton of humility.
How can we be more gracious and loving as Christians in our social media engagement?