A few days ago, after finishing my morning Bible reading, I hopped on my computer, checked some e-mail and did the obligatory social media check-in. I was not prepared to deal with the emotional direction my day was about to go.
About a half a page down I saw a video of some guy who looks like Kevin James (my boy from King of Queens) sporting a Fred Durst (the early years) look, standing in front of a Starbucks, and the caption read something like, “#MerryChristmasStarbucks” (I can’t remember exactly, I reported it as offensive and took it off my page).
SHOCK AND HORROR
So, I clicked the play icon. I like Starbucks and I like Christmas . . . win/win.
What followed made me sad and really, gut-level sick. The video contained what I can only describe as a militant attack (the dude flashed a gun in the video) on Starbucks for not putting the word “CHRISTmas” on their to-go coffee cups. The intent of the video—take back Christmas for Jesus!?!?
This is what made me sad, this level of foolishness in the name of Jesus, but what made me sick was the outpouring of “Christian” support (props to those Christ-ones who publicly opposed this). Some of the “outpouring” can be found here: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/09/starbucks-holiday-red-cup-brews-controversy-on-social-media.html
“SHHHHHH . . .”
Honestly, I don’t care about the Starbucks thing even a little bit. I don’t care about public places taking the word “Christmas” out of their public spaces. You can’t (and don’t) worship what you don’t know! (John 4 anybody?)
I do care, however, about how Christians are representing Jesus and the Bible on social media (and the internet in general). Just because you have a platform doesn’t mean you should get up and speak, especially before you consider the implication and application of your message.
Here’s the truth: What you say online is your testimony and it is your evangelism. When you begin to bring Jesus or the Bible into your stance or opinion, you run the risk of adding your voice to God’s word. You may be right . . . but what if you’re not? (Please see Proverbs 30:5-6.)
I’m not saying, “don’t have an opinion” or “don’t talk about Jesus online.” One of the blessings of the internet and social media is that it’s opened up a brand new “mission field.”
What I’m saying—nay, PLEADING—is: Be wise, be tempered, be clear, and stay focused on the point of the Gospel. Look for solid, loving, truth-packed responses to current events, causes and political decisions from Godly men and women who represent Jesus and His primary message of truth, grace and love in its entirety.
There are people who do this—respond to culture in a God-honoring, Biblically accurate, humble and loving way—for a living. Pastors should be among this group (but are often not internet savvy enough to do it well) or they should, at least, be able to offer you the right article, blog, blurb or meme to respond to a watching world properly.
By way of example, below are some of the best responses to recent issues that have been obliterated, generally, by good Christ-following people who typed, tweeted or shared before they thought:
A FEW RESOURCES
Starbucks and Their Red Cup – http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2015/11/10/christmas-is-not-for-cranks/
Terrorism and Syrian Refugees – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/11/15/should-we-really-close-the-border-to-refugees-heres-why-fear-drives-out-compassion/ & http://www.lifeinprogressministries.org/something-christian-millennials-dont-get/
Same-Sex Marriage – http://careynieuwhof.com/2015/06/some-advice-on-same-sex-marriage-for-us-church-leaders-from-a-canadian/ & https://perrynoble.com/blog/how-i-believe-christians-should-respond-to-the-supreme-courts-decision-on-g
Any & All Obama/Politics – http://bigthink.com/videos/tim-keller-on-faith-and-politics
We drag Jesus and the Bible into everything and not in the healthy, God-honoring way we’re supposed to. Instead, we do it in a way that negates one or more of the following: truth, grace and/or love.
The “truth” people rage on about God from one of two positions: 1) Wrath towards sin or 2) Nationalistic holiness [set-apart-ness]. The “love” people jump in then with either: 1) God is love or 2) Social Justice or 3) Jesus welcomes children/sinners/suffering. The “grace” people tout the same as the love folks, but they tend to do it with an “I’m no better so we’re all equally awful and that’s ok” mantra that presupposes that God will coexist with sin.
These people are all correct, somewhere, but significant pieces are always missing.
In fact, it’s rare and difficult to find a “Christian” response that balances truth with love and grace (probably because those are part of the mysteries of God – 1 Corinthians 4:1-5). That’s why I’m pleading for people to get help.
Here’s my conclusion: People need to either pipe down or leave Jesus and the Bible out of it!
It’s one of my hearts greatest desires to see people who know the Word of God only use the Word of God to spread the message of the Gospel. We have to stop dragging Jesus’ name into things that confuse His primary message. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the only platform Christ-ones stood on publicly (in the eyes of the watching world) is the basic message of the Gospel (which is truth, grace and love perfected).
We’ve turned Jesus into a politician instead of a Savior . . . it needs to stop!
[Coming Soon: A post on the Christian’s practical social media guide to responding to incendiary issues in a way that honors Christ and the Word. If you have a title suggestion or a graphic idea for the header I’d love to hear it.]