2020 has been challenging for everyone. People have turned to social media to express and validate their frustrations, criticisms and doubts.
Our feeds are overflowing with perspectives on all issues. Even within Christians circles, divisiveness has exploded. It is overwhelming and strangely empowering. Anyone CAN speak their mind with very little consequence – it seems.
Over this year, God has brought to mind these verses again and again as I’ve struggled with those I agree and disagree with – so I’m taking them into 2021.
1. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13
Have you found out that someone you thought shared your ideas and beliefs… DOESN’T?!
Did your family shock you with how strongly they hold to a perspective?
Has your community ignored the blind spot you so obviously see?
It is hard feeling we must defend ourselves, our ideas, our beliefs, our votes, our words, our shares, and our statuses. It is hard feeling misunderstood. So when people post and comment against things that we’ve tried to objectively sort out, it is hard to not take it personally.
But this scripture encourages us to move forward instead of complaining. We all truly believe we understand the current times and we all truly believe “they” do not.
May God show us what we are holding against one another so that we can forgive (note it doesn’t say agree) and glorify him in this way.
2. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Philippians 1:18
This year when I have found myself disagreeing with a perceived leader in the christian community and how they’re handling … let’s just say the current political or health climate…the Spirit reminded me of this verse.
What? But their motives are clearly wrong. But their concern over minor issues are getting us riled about the wrong things. But they shouldn’t stay silent. But they should not talk.
But. But. But when they share the gospel, is it twisted? …. If the answer is no, then I am to let it go.
Pastors and christian leaders are catching a lot of flack from other christians. Christians are allowed to have opinions whether we like it or not. You have an opinion, right?
It’s tricky territory. The Bible absolutely encourages God’s people to not be led astray, not lead others astray, defend the truth, and call out lies. There are things that should absolutely be spoken out against. Some things are worth speaking privately per relationship. Some things are personal convictions. Some things depend on your role in the body of Christ and what he is teaching you in each season.
I am not called to reshare a post I disagree with on Facebook with a polarizing and name calling caption. I am not called to troll someone’s Instagram posts and hurl insults at them.
Seeking God and being obedient in the moment is most important because I am not the judge of other’s hearts. I cannot control what other people believe or do. I can only seek to be obedient to God each day in all the platforms I have access and if I am honest, the problem is usually talking more about my opinion than the actual good news.
3. Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” John 21:22
This whole chapter is FULL of truths that will BLESS YOU, but let’s focus on this one.
Here we have Jesus encouraging Peter that he has a kingdom purpose after Peter was discouraged because he had indeed denied Jesus three times. At the end of this interaction, Peter goes, “So what about that guy?” and Jesus basically says in this verse, “Mind your business and follow me.” Then Peter goes to tell his friends what Jesus says and all they took from it in that moment was that John might live forever.
Years later as John reflects on this story, why would he bother putting those details in there? Probably because we are dang prone to be like young Peter and gloss over what Jesus speaks into our lives because we want to know about what God is going to do about THAT person over THERE.
I am not the Holy Spirit. I need to let God deal with people – especially people I do not personally know AND he does not have to tell me diddly squat about it.
If he wants me to help someone address an issue in their life (or hold an issue against them as if I have not been forgiven of my sins and false beliefs), he will let me know and at that point it will most likely not be via a rude/polarizing/harsh post or comment, but a respectful and private conversation.
Until then, it’s my job to follow Jesus and mind my business.
There are a lot of parts of the Bible we can pull out to support what we might already believe, but what’s really special is when God points out something to you.
These are verses that God told me to focus on. I would have chosen lots of others, but these are what he said I should do to follow him right now – which will give me way more life than trying to fit his words into my agendas.
If you have surrendered your life to Christ, you are being constantly made more like him. It’s a life long process that he takes us on individually. So God is probably working on you in a different way than he’s working on me.
I’m praying that as you read his Word and ask for his focus, that he gives you a clear passage you can hold onto as we move into the new year. He is worth following, if only we will let him lead us.
Forgiveness – whether we embrace it or reject it – has a huge impact on our lives. We created a 15 day study that dives into stories from your favorite Christian artists and personalities who have been there. They’ll share how God’s Word has challenged their perspective and transformed their lives through the power of this one word.