This year has proven to be a difficult one on many levels. The fallout of issues concerning policing, race, health, protest, riots, and even the way in which we live our lives have quite literally rocked our world. In fact, the world has gotten so small due to the speed at which news can spread—usually before we blink, another tragedy comes across our screens. Frankly, we are overexposed, and some Christians seem to thrive on it.
Amid the turmoil, some Christians jump on social media seemingly looking for the next controversy to exploit. I’m not saying there is never a place for healthy discussion or even debate, but this is not what I am observing most of the time. Rather, I see Christians going after their brothers and sisters, and even insulting the unregenerate. Bottom line: it is not Christlike.
Listen to the words of Peter, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:11-12, ESV).
I think Peter offers a one-two punch to the problems I see (and sometimes commit) on the internet. If we think the passions of the flesh are limited to sinful sexual desires, we have missed the point of what Peter has said previously. We are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that [we] may proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9). The ways in which Christians tear each other down or act dishonorably towards “Gentiles” are a cancer. We need to repent!
Are we pointing people to the excellencies of Christ when we treat each other and unbelievers as if they are not made in the image of God? Are we keeping our conduct among outsiders honorable when they can actually point out evil in us and not be wrong? Is it not also Peter who tells us that we are to give an answer with gentleness and respect when asked about the reason for our hope (1 Pet. 3:15)?
Christians, we are losing our witness for the sake of winning senseless battles on Twitter. We are losing love between brothers and sisters so that we can make our absolute position known about whether we are pro-mask or anti-mask, and then take it up a notch by telling someone how foolish they are if they are not in agreement with us. We are losing the ability to graciously disagree and have conversations and even healthy debates about matters that have eternal value.
This is a plea, brothers, and sisters to remember that Jesus Christ calls us to love one another by serving one another and that the world will know we are His if we do so (John 13:34-35). This is a plea, brothers and sisters, to “walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let[ting] [our] speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that [we] may know how [we] ought to answer each person” (Col. 4:5-6).