Slow to anger…even on facebook

We live an extremely controversial world. With social media platforms out the wazoo and press outlets feeding us 24/7, it’s nearly impossible not to base strong opinions and beliefs over something and dispute it in one forum or another. Not to mention the incredible reach any one person can have over an audience to sway them, good or bad. Kind of like this blog, right? I may only have a small audience consisting of my wife and two cats with the occasional visitor, but through this blog, there is potential to reach an audience. Oh…and that’s my goal!

Let me cut to the chase here…

Christians – We need not be quick to judge, to cast stones, or show anger towards a differing view. Instead, we must be slow to anger, put down our stones(phones. I mean, it’s the 21st century), and show the love of Christ.

Now let me clarify. Is it okay to disagree with someone? Of course. Is it normal for us as Christians to feel as if we are under attack by the world? Yes, because we are! Then why shouldn’t we be angry? Maybe it’s okay to feel angry, but we need to be careful how we let people see that anger.

Why shouldn’t we fight back on facebook and slam our beliefs in their faces?

First off, representing your faith and beliefs is one thing, but I think you all know what I’m referring to. It’s those endless “comments” sections between opposing people and by the time you get halfway through the feed, you wonder if either one of them is a follower of Christ. In fact, you may be so taken aback by the debate, you begin exercising compassion and mercy by kneeling down and praying for them on the spot.

I’ll list a few quick reasons, founded in scripture, why those types of debates shouldn’t include us.

  1. We are image-bearers of God. We, His children, are created in the image of God. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”(Genesis 1:27)
  2. We are called to follow Christ, to take up our cross and follow Jesus, God Himself. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
  3. We are to seek God’s will for our lives, to follow Him, and care for those around us. David, a great king in the old testament, was known for being a man after God’s own heart(Acts 13:22). He was sinful just as we are, but he lived out many attributes of God’s heart: humble, trusting, loving, respectful, merciful, faithful, devoted, and he was repentant of his sins. All of these attributes are seen in David’s hospitality towards Mephibosheth, a man who considered even himself to be a “dead dog”, yet King David upheld a promise from the past, and gave him a seat at the King’s table for the rest of his life. Read 2 Samuel, beginning in chapter 4 for the story, but David’s true heart is shown in Samuel 9.
  4. We are not to judge, unless we ourselves are free from sin…we know that’s not the case. Jesus references throughout the new testament that we are not to judge, for judging others only brings condemnation upon ourselves. (John 8:7, Romans 2:1, Mathew 7:1, Mathew 7:3)
  5. Fruits of the Spirit are what we should be reflecting!  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is WAY too easy to forget these when we’re rapid-firing comments and tweets.
  6.  Peace must come before anger, even(and arguably especially) when reaching the unrighteous. James emphasizes throughout his book to be set on good deeds and patience. Not that good deeds offers salvation, but remaining peaceful and being good to others will reap righteousness. Others will want the the peace you have, offered through Jesus Christ! (James 3:18)

I could go on and on, but I’ll leave that as enough reason to keep your cool when scrolling through the bookface or tweeb feed. We are created in the image of God, called to follow Him through the man Jesus Christ, led by the Holy Spirit into all the world, reflecting the fruits of the spirit inside of us.

Case in point: our anger, our retaliations, and rapid-fire statements are not going to win souls for the Kingdom of God. We must live as Christ lived, showing love, kindness, and peace to all we come in contact with. Remember, Jesus Christ was God Himself, yet he didn’t even consider equality with God(Philippians 2:6). How then, can we play the role of Judge, when it is God who judges?

The more anger we show, the more hypocritical we look.

Maybe you see someone doing something you truly believe is against God(a sin). Yes, your heart should break for that person, but you have to approach each situation with caution. If you have a brother or sister in Christ who you know and have a relationship with of some kind, you may be able to be more forward with them, while remaining completely kind, loving, and compassionate. If you’re on facebook and you don’t know the person, it’s a whole different scenario. Keep in mind, the person on facebook has no reason to listen to you as far as they’re concerned so, before you send a comment, make sure you build some trust first. Even then we must remember we are here to assist those who haven’t come to a knowing faith, not show anger towards them. We want to help our neighbors, not turn them away from the gospel.

I will agree with anyone that says it’s hard to walk through the day and not feel sorrow and heartbreak from the state of the world. As followers of Christ, that’s normal! The closer we become to knowing God and understanding His nature, His heart, the more common that will be. It’s part of the burden of taking up our cross to follow Christ. Just remember to be slow to anger and always have your intentions be set on assisting and helping…even on facebook.

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