A Warning To Men Behaving Badly On Facebook

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I do not enjoy writing posts like this. But I feel compelled to do so. Some of you men are in spiritual danger. You need to be awakened. While women do bear a certain amount of responsibility for what I am about to address, this post will be directed toward my own gender. It is addressed to both married and single men. Men who profess to know and love Jesus. Men who want to be gratified in the flesh through Facebook interaction with the opposite sex. Men who are in grave danger, because you are playing with fire. 

Over the last few months, I have been grieved by men behaving badly on Facebook. I am seeing comments made on female Facebook profiles that prompts me to write this. I am referring to the comments you make when a female posts a new picture of herself. And I am not referring to just any picture. I am talking about pics that are mildly provocative, or in some cases blatantly provocative. There is a very real danger here that some of you guys are either blinded to, or even worse, are willfully engaging in. Either way, it is time for you to respond to the Word of God, and put to death what is earthly and sensual in you. If you are born again, bought with the blood of our precious Savior, you will heed this warning. Before writing this, I prayed for your repentance. I know the struggle very well. God saved me from a life given to sexual sin. He can do the same for you. I want you to know what true freedom is like.

Are You the Flirting Type?

Some of you guys are the flirting type. And I don’t mean the type of flirting that is normal, healthy, and acceptable. After all, if every type of flirting were wrong, then hardly anyone would ever meet, date, and get married. DUH. But men, those of you who are behaving badly on Facebook, your flirting is different than this. To those of you who love making suggestive comments on female threads, especially when they post a new picture of themselves, and THEN say you love Jesus, you are in danger. Why? Because, as R.C. Sproul says, “A profession of faith doesn’t justify anybody. It’s the possession of faith that justifies.” If you are engaging in sinful and unrepentant flirting, you may be deceived into thinking that you are truly a redeemed man. But this may not be the case. Redeemed men love Jesus. And if you love Jesus, you will also love and respect women who are created in His image. So, if you find yourself gawking at, lusting over, and commenting on sexy female photos…….examine yourself. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

You Can’t Hide From God

You love it when females post the sexy pictures, don’t you? You know, the ones with the provocative clothing. The ones you are just dying to compliment. The ones that get you sexually charged, especially when you make suggestive comments on them. Trust me. I’ve seen the comments from some of you. And here’s what you need to know: Your suggestive comments are not going unnoticed by God. He not only sees you commenting, but He knows the depths of your perverted motivation behind the act. Men, please wake up. You are making an idol of a pleasure that is wicked and fleeting. You are choosing a sexual “high” over the King of kings and Lord of lords. Sin always has pleasure attached to it. If it didn’t give you pleasure to comment on her picture, then you would just stare at her without commenting. And, of course, there would be enough sin in the staring to condemn you anyway.

The Reason You Comment

But I believe there is a reason why you go a step further than simply looking. When making suggestive comments, it fuels your lust even more. Making those provocative statements gives you more sexual release. The exchange gives you a sort of “sexual connection” to the woman.  If you make a comment like “Wow, hot stuff!”, you know that she knows that you are turned on by her. If you simply looked and lusted after her, she would never know. God would know, of course. (And He matters more than anyone!) But if you type a comment, now she knows you think she looks “hot.” And you may even fantasize that she is now turned on because you think she is hot. And that knowledge alone produces all manner of wickedness in you. It makes your hormones rage even more, and your mind race with uncontrolled lust. What a vicious cycle this is. I know this sounds like I am being hard on you. But trust me, I’ve been where you are. Before I got saved, the danger took place in “chat rooms.” Remember those? Well, now, it’s a different medium. But the heart behind it all is still the same. Your flesh is weak and satan is a roaring lion. Neither one will let you go easily. You need this warning.

Easy To Justify, Right?

I know……….it’s very tempting, isn’t it? I have red blood running through my veins just like you. We don’t always know temptation is coming. We are simply scrolling. Yes, the very innocuous act of “scrolling.” And then, out of nowhere, some girl from across the country who you are never going to meet has posted a pic that is a bit too alluring. Maybe for her the pic was just “cute” when she and her friends were hanging out on the boardwalk. A picture she may even think is innocent, with no ill intention to provoke men to lust. But unfortunately, her good intentions don’t help you when she is standing there in a teeny bikini. And all of a sudden, it happens. You get sucked in like a vacuum pulling up dirt.

What’s The Big Deal?

Guys, if you’re not careful, Facebook can be a breeding ground for this type of deception. The common scenario works something like this. Her picture is enticing. It catches your eye. And then, your hormones begin to kick in. You better keep scrolling or look away because next, of course, is your heart. You are in danger of worshiping yourself over God by gratifying yourself at another’s expense. You’re tired. You’re stressed. And it would feel great, wouldn’t it, if you could just flirt a little? Ya know, just a tiny bit? You know, tell her how good she looks. What harm could that possibly cause? I mean, it’s not like you two are going to be vulgar on Facebook or anything. At least not publicly. Your comment is just going to get lost in a sea of 100 other comments from men anyway. So what’s the big deal? It even looks like she is enjoying all the comments! You’re just being “friendly” like everyone else, right? Well, no.

The Words of Jesus

Here’s why it is a big deal. “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). So there you have it guys. When a girl is wearing revealing clothes, and you keep staring at her picture, you are committing sexual sin. As Jesus said, you are an adulterer at heart. And when you compliment her, you are diving head first into further sin. If she were to see you in person and make sexual advances toward you, you would not be able to fight her off. You would welcome her advances, and in fact, invite them. Men, start guarding your heart! (Proverbs 4:23) I tell you this because I care about you, and I don’t want you to become enslaved to the deception of sexual sin.

It’s All Her Fault

Oh, but you say, “Jamie, she flirted with me first!” Or “She shouldn’t be showing off her tummy when she takes selfies!” What about this excuse? “I didn’t start making provocative comments. It was her.” Or how about “I was caught off guard. Really, I was!” Ok, then I give you these words from God: “For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, Her steps lay hold of hell. Lest you ponder her path of life— Her ways are unstable; You do not know them(Proverbs 5:3-6). You are never just “caught off guard.” You have a worship problem. When you say you love Jesus, and then cater to the sexual advances (verbal or physical) of cute women on Facebook, you do not love Jesus. You don’t love those women. You love yourself. Period. 

Jesus Died For Facebook Sins

You can’t blame Facebook. Facebook isn’t the problem, of course. Your sinful heart is the problem. Facebook is merely a tool for you to get what you want. So, put the sin to death when you first recognize the temptation. When you see the mini skirt, keep scrolling. As God told Cain, “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” So go ahead and master it. The Holy Spirit has infinite resources to keep you from falling. But you must be active and engaged, as the Scripture teaches us! Remember, we only have a brief moment to decide if we’re going to take a close gander at her, or instead keep scrolling. So…….just keep scrolling. Look away…….scroll down…….close the laptop. Pray. And as you do, think about how Jesus hung on that cross and took the punishment for all the lustful thoughts and actions of every Christian throughout history. And that includes the thousands of lustful looks and comments on Facebook.

The Progression of Sin

And don’t forget the progression of sin as described in James 1:14: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” Men, listen to me please. Your sin doesn’t originate from Facebook. It doesn’t originate from women in bikinis or mini skirts. It comes from within your heart. The skirt just gives you the opportunity that your lustful eyes, and commenting hands, were waiting to latch onto. I know that stings a bit. It is meant to. You cannot control everything you see posted on Facebook. But you can decide (through the work of the Holy Spirit) to obey Christ by not feeding your lust.

What To Do Now

If any of this describes you, you already have something to pray about, don’t you? You could pray that God would give you pure and holy desires, and that He would grant you repentance over social media sins. Or you may even need to pray that God would save your soul. it’s quite possible that your persistent, unrepentant Facebook lust indicates that you do not really know Jesus. But it is not too late. Get right with Jesus now.

I love you and do not want you to end up in hell. I myself am still a sinner who is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. I have to battle the sin of lust every day, just like every other man. I want you to know Jesus, and the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10). I want you to be forgiven. Repent, turn to Jesus, and have your sins blotted out.

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!  – Jamie

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What If YOUR Dirt Were Dug Up During An Election?

 

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Imagine if you ran for President?  What forbidden pleasures would they find from your past?  Or your present, for that matter.  What would you do if millions found out some of the worst things you’ve ever said, either in public or in private?  Scary, isn’t it?  What if the public saw some of the most immoral places you’ve ever visited, either physically or online?  How horrifying would that be?  People you currently associate with, and people from your distant past………they would all know about what you did, what you said, and where you went.  Admittedly, if someone publicly displayed the worst statement I ever made, I could never run for President…………because I would leave the country.  I would be too embarrassed to stay.  And the last time I checked, you have to actually live in the United States to be the President.  So there is no hope for me to ever make it to the Oval Office (someone please shout ‘Amen’ here).  The pain and embarrassment of my past wouldn’t be worth the power and notoriety that come with being President.  I’ve heard too much horror about public shaming to ever willingly walk into it.

Better to Deal With Our Own Dirt

Public figures, especially politicians, are easy targets.  There will always be something exposed in their life that will make you feel better about yours.  If they are the opposing party, the media will make sure they always look really bad.  And often times, trying to defend themselves only makes things worse.  I’m not saying they are innocent of everything that is said about them.  I’m saying that, no matter who they are or what kind of life they lead, they will always be slandered to one degree or another.  It is just part of the game when you are in the public eye day after day.  It happens to Donald Trump.  It happens to Hillary Clinton.  It would happen to you too.  This is one reason why it is not healthy to consistently harp on the sins of others.  Because if this pattern of ‘harping’ continues, you’ll start to look at everyone you meet through a fault-finding lens.  If you are on this road, take a detour now.

How Close to Danger Are You?

So what is the evidence that you may be in danger of this?  Well, for one, how do you speak about others when they are not with you?  When you think of our unconverted leaders, do you criticize them more than you pray for them?  Do you mostly have words of grace, or judgment?  What about the social media threads that you find yourself commenting on?  Do you comment on those specific threads because it makes you look better, or because you truly want to edify and protect the body of Christ?  Do you comment more on threads that allow you to be gracious, or the ones where everyone is pointing fingers and pronouncing judgment?  What about the poking fun and sarcasm?  Is this more enjoyable than lifting people up?  If you enjoy tearing others down, and always pointing out their faults, you have a serious spiritual deficiency.  Remember,  when you die, God is not going to judge you based on how you compare to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  He will judge you according to His perfect holy standard.

Redirect Your Eyes

Take your eyes off of Donald Trump for just a few moments.  I realize it’s so hard to do that when the media keeps pounding away on every single thing he says and does.  Not only that, but we are constantly reminded of all the bad things he ever said and did in the past.  Even though the election is over, and Trump is the President-Elect, the dirt digging continues.  Granted, much of what he has said deserves to be brought into the light and examined.  And some of it should be outright condemned.  But I’ve noticed that some people are over-fascinated with his faults.  Some just have a beef with everything he does, and want to paint him as the worst lowlife to ever win a presidential election.  Many people are just watching and waiting for him to screw up……and then of course, to let everyone on Facebook know just how “right” they were about not voting for him.  It would be foolish to deny that this kind of thing is happening almost daily on social media.  Not everyone is guilty, but some definitely are.  Sadly, it is becoming normative to slander Trump, his family, and anyone that works with him.  This approach isn’t working.  Just take a look at the news.  These are some sad days for the stars and stripes.  There is a much better way to deal with all of this.

Slander Is Not Holy

The attitudes described above are not Christian.  Exodus 22:28 states, “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”  Pretty clear text.  And no, I am not condoning the sins that Trump has committed.  I am simply saying that God is His Judge, and this obsession with his sins has got to stop. There is a serious warning here: a warning that we dare not miss as ChristiansWe can become distracted from our own sinfulness (and need to repent), by being more distracted over the sin of others, especially when we dislike that other person.  And when we are too distracted from our own need to repent, we forget about how much we need Jesus every moment of every day.  And sin goes unchecked in our Christian walk.  Self-righteousness is not far away when this kind of thinking prevails.  A skewed view of the cross is also not far away.  We are a train wreck waiting to happen.

Be Careful of Holier-Than-Thou

Most unconverted men aren’t that different from Donald Trump.  Not true you say?  Guys, especially those of you who were saved later in life (like me), let’s be honest.  What if some of your past interactions with women were exposed to the general public?  You know…….the workplace flirting?  Your time at the bars and clubs?  The gym?  Oh, and what about all the text messages and “private” chats you had?  How would you feel if any of these messages were shown on the Nightly News?  What about the next time you have dinner with your family?  Would you be able to look your sister in the eye?  I don’t know about you, but I would be mortified if some of my conversations were recorded and played back to the general public.  The shame would be unbearable.

Sexual Idolatry

It is really scary just how the unregenerate male mind works.  For most unsaved men, sex is his god…….or at least one of his primary gods.  It’s usually what drives him.  It’s what he thinks about.  And when your heart is filled with the god of sex, the overflow comes out in conversations with attractive women.  It is a sickening, but accurate, reality.  Donald Trump certainly went too far in his recording.  No question, bragging about groping women is wicked.  But let’s be honest men.  Most of us have been guilty of objectifying women in one way or another.  Our sin is deserving of God’s wrath too.  In our pre-Christian days, we often treated women as though they exist for our pleasure alone.  Aren’t you glad they never put you on a hot mic?

Before Coming to Christ

When I think back on how I lived before I came to Christ, it really scares me.  And it scares me even more to think about what I would have become……had God not so graciously intervened.  But remembering how bad I was also helps me to appreciate Jesus even more.  And for this reason, we ought to stop with the constant focus on the sins of Donald Trump.  If we continue to talk about all of his faults, we are playing the ever dangerous “comparison game.”  And when you play that game, you never appreciate the cross of Christ.  What you appreciate is how good you are compared to others.  If these thought patterns continue, they will destroy your peace.  The Christian life will never be lived out with sacrificial love toward others.  It’ll be lived out with a constant eye on the behavior of others, whether they are in the White House, or in your small group at church.  You’ll get more pleasure out of observing than serving.  Please don’t go there.

Ladies, Have You Been Guilty?

Ladies, it is difficult for me to say this, but it does need to be addressed.  While I admit that Trump has been a womanizer in the past, and it is easy for us to paint him as an evil pervert, I must ask this question: Hasn’t Christ forgiven you of sexual sins?  Can you claim any righteous superiority over him?  Think for a moment.  Have you done anything to contribute to the hyper-sexualized culture we find ourselves in?  Anything at all?  What if pictures you put up on a dating site, or social media account, went viral publicly during an election season?  Did you ever send any racy pics to the opposite sex?  If it ever came out that you did, how shameful and horrifying would that be for you?  I mean, most everyone you know would see them!  You know that “hole” that was created when your past dirt was dug up?  It would now be time to crawl into that same hole and never come back out.

The Very Thought Of It Should Make You Blush

Imagine this.  You’re a woman in the midst of campaigning for a prestigious government office.  One day, you’re sitting in your living room watching CNN.  You want to see how well you’re doing in the polls.  You want to hear what your opponent is currently saying about you.  And then, all of a sudden, there it is……..on your TV screen.  It is a video of you from 10 years ago, before you met Jesus.  Needless to say, your spring break outfit is shockingly immodest.  And you are chugging a beer as you speak.  Your drunkenness is painfully obvious to everyone.  You may not even remember the day the video was taken.  You probably don’t remember who those men are standing next to you.  But now, because of that one crazy weekend years ago with your friends, millions of people now stereotype you as a drunken, promiscuous flirt.  And you are publicly shamed for it.  Worst of all, there is nothing you can do about it.  Apparently an old boyfriend you broke up with now wants revenge.  He found this picture and now wants to make life miserable for you.  He finds joy in it.  And as wrong as that is, people will stoop to such nastiness in a fallen world………with almost no guilt whatsoever.  Does this hypothetical scenario frighten you?  Does it soften your heart a bit more toward those in the public eye?  Does it make you appreciate Jesus more for all that he has forgiven you?

We Are Not Better Than Trump, or Hillary

We all think we are though.  But Christian, please listen to me.  This is such a dangerous place to be.  Believe me, I was there and it is not a good place.  After the infamous recording played (of Trump bragging about groping women), I remember thinking how superior I was when it came to my treatment of women.  I was comparing myself to Trump, and was so proud of myself for supposedly coming out on top.  But God’s Word is powerful!  Romans 12:3 states, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”  And Scripture also says, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).  It would be good to keep these passages stored in our hearts.

The Solution

As my web page title states, let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!  Not on Trump’s sins, and not on Hillary’s sins.  All that will accomplish is making you feel more superior to others.  And that will eventually drive a wedge between you and Jesus.  And that is something you simply cannot afford.  Keep your eyes on that precious cross, and you will have no desire to keep them fixed on the White House.  And just to clarify, not all of you are guilty to the degree I am warning about.  I am speaking in general terms here.  But those of you who are guilty of building yourself up at the expense of others’ public shame, you ought to repent.  Because at that moment, your soul is likely in more danger than either Trump or Hillary.

God knows all of your dirt.  All of your filth.  And yet, if you are in Christ, it has all been washed away.  He will never dig it up and expose it.  He will never publicly shame you for your dirt.  Jesus underwent all of that public shame for you……..directly in your place.  Praise His Holy Name!!  And keep your eyes fixed on our glorious King!!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

 

Millennials Won’t Be Won With Sarcastic Memes

 

Playful Banter Can Be Really Fun

I am a sucker for a good meme.  I readily admit it.  Especially when it comes to sports memes.  As a fan of the Dallas Cowboys (oops…… just lost a few readers already), I am often the recipient of many……….let’s just say “mildly to majorly” sarcastic memes.  But among guys this is understood to be normal behavior when it comes to the NFL.  We know that we are just joking with one another, having some fun banter back and forth.  I have a co-worker who is a diehard Redskins fan, and occasionally we exchange a funny sports meme………..trying to playfully (or painfully) outdo one another.  And, of course, to make sure he knows that I am right about the Cowboys…….ahem…… winning it all this year.  That’s the other important reason.  Anyway………it’s fun competition.  And as long as it doesn’t get nasty or aggressive, it is just part of being a sports fan.  Certainly, not everyone who enjoys football exchanges these memes, but most of the people who participate mean no harm at all.  We need a good laugh sometimes.  We cannot take ourselves so seriously all the time, especially when it comes to sports.  Big games come and go.  Champions celebrate one year, and are dethroned the next.  Teams often have memorable seasons, and then are all but forgotten in a few years.  Chicago Cubs fans probably would not agree with me on the “forgetting” part.  They may be the exception for the moment.  By the way, congratulations on the win!

Our Audience Is Always Watching

However, sometimes we are not talking about the trivial nature of a person’s favorite sports team.  Sometimes we are talking about reaching people for Jesus Christ.  We are talking about building relationships with people who need their sins to be forgiven.  We are talking about becoming all things to all men (1 Corinthians 9:22).  We are talking about reflecting the character of Christ in all that we do (Matthew 5:16).  We are talking about putting others needs ahead of our own agenda (Philippians 2:3-4).  Although I am very conservative politically, I have liberal friends whom I love.  In fact, I love both groups.  And I have disagreements with both sides on various issues.  But if I disagree with them, I want to do it Biblically.  I don’t want to hurt them or cause them stress.  I don’t want to make fun of them.  This is not the way of Christ.  Remember, people are always watching.  Whether you realize it or not, people look at your posts.  Your family sees them.  Your co-workers see them.  People at your church see them.  Millennials see them.  Are you being careful about what they see you posting?  Are you thinking through your comments on other people’s threads?  Even if what you post is correct factually, how is your tone behind it all?  Do they see love, or do they see one–upmanship?  And please, no jokes about “safe places” here.  I know you were tempted. 

But Millennials Are Being Unrighteous!

No, only some of them are.  Not every protester is being violent, and it is wrong to present all of them that way.  In fact, not all of the protesters are even Millennials.  Some are X-ers (my age group).  And some may even be Boomers…….I don’t know.  The point is this: We should be careful not to paint with a broad brush when pointing out the faults of specific people.  It is unfair to classify all millennials as liberal protesters who are angry that they didn’t get their way.  Or even worse, to present them all as flag burning cry babies is without excuse.  Does that describe some of them?  Sure.  But all of them?  No, of course not.  The violence on the streets is being committed by wicked people of all different ages.  Age is not the problem.  The human heart is the problem.  And it is as much of a problem for millennials as it is for baby boomers.  Let’s swallow our pride and be honest.  Some millennials just want to be heard like anyone else.  Some of them are feeling very scared right now, and are trying to discern how to best express themselves lawfully.  Many of them are very respectful.  And this one might hurt a bit, but it needs to be said: Gen X-ers (myself included) and Baby Boomers could learn a lot from some millennials.  And don’t forget, some millennials are your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Be careful of stereotypes.  They hurt.  They hurt really bad sometimes.

Image result for peaceful millennials protesting imagesA Hindrance to the Gospel

That meme you post could offend some Christian’s best friend in college.  Ya know, that unsaved friend that they have been witnessing to for the last 2 years!  Do you think it could hinder the work that they’ve done thus far, when that person (either the Christian or their unsaved friend) sees professing believers posting sarcastic memes about their age group on Facebook?  You bet it hinders the work!  More than you can imagine.  And yes, God is sovereign and He is not going to lose any of His elect.  I get that.  But that theology is no excuse for us to throw stumbling blocks in the faces of our young people.  Our actions on social media (or anywhere else for that matter), have a ripple effect on other Christians.  We are supposed to be an example to young Christians…….an example worth imitating.  Not an example for them to be embarrassed about.  Not an example that ruins their evangelistic labors on their college campus.  And our behavior certainly has a ripple effect on how the lost view us.  If millennials view us as sarcastic and unfeeling toward them, why should we expect God to bless our evangelism?  The Bible shows us a better way: the way of Christ!  He didn’t marginalize or mock people when He reached out to them.  He simply loved them and told them the Good News that He came to deliver them from their sins.  Praise His Name!!

The Golden Rule

Even if some of them are protesting, but they are doing it peacefully and not causing any harm to others, is this wrong?  No, they have the right to protest, as long as they are peaceful about it.  So, let us be careful not to misrepresent others, especially when we link them with people who are committing crime on the street.  It is unfair, and quite frankly, slanderous to even imply that all unsaved millennials are trouble makers.  Imagine if they associated us with the worst behavioral examples of our generational age group?!  I would hate to be stereotyped that way!  You know the command of Christ as well as I do.  I am preaching to myself here, as much as I am to you my fellow believers.  Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)  If we don’t want millennials to stereotype us in an unflattering way, then why on earth would we do it to them?  The Apostle Paul said, “Love believes all things.”  He meant that we ought to give people the benefit of the doubt, not assume the worst about them.  Stereotyping assumes the worst.  Love does not.

Use Social Media Wisely

Social media can be a dangerous place.  Why?  Because people are watching.  Millennials are watching.  Are you being careful about what they see you posting?  Lately, I have written a lot about our use of social media as Christians.  Since we spend so much time on that medium, we ought to give due diligence to doing it right………as best we can by God’s grace.  So before you post that meme, think……..think hard.  If you poke fun at the “Me” generation, what will it say about you?  What will millennials think about youMore importantly, what will they think about that gospel you keep posting about?  Ya know, the message about Jesus that invites people to come to Him if they are weary and heavy laden.  Ya know, the message that you once posted about 10 minutes after the meme showing a twenty-something college woman crying on campus after she found out Hillary lost.  Will that meme further conversation about the cross, or will it end it altogether?  Think before you post.  Think long and think hard.  What is funny to us is often anything but funny to our larger, possibly unsaved, audience.

Memes Are Not Always Sinful

No, they are not.  In and of itself, a meme is neither righteous nor sinful.  They are neutral.  Often they can be a source of good clean fun!  They make us laugh.  And laughter is commended in Scripture, when the humor is of a good sort.  Memes are great.  Use them when appropriate.  Pray for discernment though.  Because knowing when it is appropriate to use a specific meme requires wisdom.  And we lack that big time.  But God has an infinite abundance of it.  Ask Him.  We don’t always get it right.  But He does.  And when we fail on social media, turn to Him in repentance.  He also has an infinite supply of forgiveness, love, and grace.  He will forgive you, and His Spirit will guide you when you are ready to click that all-important “Post” button.

So Christians, if any of these sinful traits describe you, be very careful.  I pray that, by God’s grace, we would begin to mortify our thoughtless sarcasm and biting humor.  Love is much better than that.  Remember, all people are created in God’s image, no matter what generation they belong to.

And on that note, I need to get to work on something very important.  The Cowboys are playing the Ravens this weekend, and I have nothing to send their fans yet.

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5 Reasons Why Your Facebook Manners Are More Important Than Your Vote

 

What you say and how you say it is more important than who you end up voting for.  Who you end up  voting for is a matter of conscience, and reasons will vary from person to person.  I will talk about all that in a few moments.  But rudeness in speech, or writing, is a  violation of God’s law.  Lack of self-control is a work of the flesh and not the Spirit.  When we fail to love others, it misrepresents God’s holy character to other Christians……and to the world.  In other words, the love we show to others when we communicate carries more weight in Heaven than the time we spend inside the polling booth.  And besides, you’ll spend way more time doing one than the other. 

I am speaking about your rhetoric here.  According to Wikipedia, rhetoric is defined as “the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the capability of writers or speakers to inform, most likely to persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations.”  We use it more often than we realize.  Some days it’s constant.  Other days not so much.  But ultimately, we can’t get away from situations where we need to use words to persuade others in some way.

When you are gone from this earth, people will still remember your  words…….especially words that had either a positive or negative impact on them.  But most people won’t get into the ins and outs of who you voted for.  Life and death are in the power of the tongue, says Proverbs, not in the power of your vote.  Yes, who we vote for is important, and I recognize that.  But there is something far more valuable that looks to be a blind spot amongst some Christian social media users.  God has recently shown me my blind spot, or at least one of them!  And had He not shown me, I may have alienated one of the best guys I know with my prideful and ill-timed rhetoric.  It isn’t too late for me, or any of you.  With the election still nearly 3 months away, we have time to make strides in our social media sanctification.  This isn’t to say that everyone on social media is guilty.  But I have seen a pattern, both on Facebook and the Blogosphere.  I have seen it now in my own heart.  The last one took the longest for me to notice.

And let’s be real here.  Not one Christian has all the right answers on this political stuff.  The minute we think we’ve made the greatest argument for our candidate (or non-candidate if you’re not voting), the chair gets pulled from under us and someone comes up with a rebuttal that we simply cannot refute.  Of course, in many cases our pride will surely make an attempt to refute it.  We often do this even when we know we’ve lost.  (Married men, you know what I’m talking about!  We are guilty as charged.)  And even after our pride miserably fails, and we know we can’t refute someone, we will google search to see the best responses others have come up with.  And if google has nothing, we’ll youtube it.  That way, we have a ready arsenal to strike down the latest aggressor against our “perfect” political opinions.

In some ways, this year’s election is a lot like the last one…….and the one before that.  We have two primary candidates, and a few third party candidates as well.  Christians went to that all important forum to voice their most highly prized opinions: social media.  What’s wrong with that?  Nothing.  Social Media can be a great tool.  Notice I said it can be a great tool.  But just like a hammer, it can either be used to build up, or to destroy.  I have seen everything from questioning people’s salvation because of who they are voting for, to the prevalence of the “why I’m right and everyone else is wrong” attitude, to outright anger and vitriol directed toward any disagreeing parties.

This subject has been on my heart a very long time.  But I kept putting it off thinking that things would get better.  I thought the day would come when I would jump on Facebook and see well-organized political debates saturated with kind, humble rebuttals up and down my news feed.  It never happened though.  But something else happened that I really did not see coming: my own sin was exposed. I involved myself in a dispute with a brother who loves Christ more than most people I know. In attempting to defend my political choices, I offended him instead.  I place the blame on myself.  He is too godly to allow me to do that though, so he ended up apologizing to me as well.  I entered the debate trying to break his reasoning down.  I wanted to show everyone on that post just how clever my argument was.  Clever, maybe.  But hidden in so much pride and defensiveness that no one would have noticed anyway.

Brothers and sisters, do not let this get the best of you.  Watch out for the evil one here, because he is out to devour you and your friendships in Christ.  And believe me, if he can do that, he doesn’t care one bit whether Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or a Third Party candidate wins.  He is more interested in getting you to demean others on your way to the polling booth.  He is more interested in getting you to craft that perfect sarcastic response to someone in your Facebook comments.  People, I fell victim to this recently.  By God’s grace, things have been made right with my brother.  But this is a warning to all.  I care about how the body of Christ treats one another.  And we cannot simply blame the devil for these things.  Our hearts condemn us as well.

Christians, Scripture has much to teach us when it comes to our social media habits.  I hope and pray these points are beneficial to you.  I am only scratching the surface here, but I’m convinced it’s that important.  Why should you care so much about how you engage in Facebook debates, especially the political ones happening all the time on our newsfeeds?  For many reasons.  Here are 5 of them!

1) God will judge our words.  We will give a direct account to Him on our Judgment Day.  Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)  Yes, every careless, meaningless word we have ever spoke verbally, or written on blogs and social media will be brought into account.  These aren’t just words that were intended to tear people down, but words that were not used to build others up.  Ephesians 4:29 states, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Please……don’t play with fire on this one.  Also, read this helpful but terrifying quote from Stephen Charnock: “Can a man’s conscience easily and delightfully swallow that which he is sensible falls under the cognizance of God, when it is hateful to the eye of His holiness, and renders the actor odious to Him? . . . Temptations have no encouragement to come near him that is constantly armed with the thoughts that his sin is booked in God’s omniscience.”  You may get the best of someone on Facebook.  You may copy the best quotes into your comment section.  You may have more people agreeing with you on a particular post.  But if your words are careless, the One who has eyes like a flame of fire knows what you are doing.  So before you post that meme meant to dehumanize someone else’s favorite candidate, think about it long and hard before you click the infamous “post” button.  In fact, I say read it about 5 times before you post it!  And if you’re still unsure, have someone you love and trust read it.  Remember, if it tears someone down, it could be brought up at the Judgment.

2) Presidential terms last for only four years.  Our unity in Christ lasts forever.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  I used to wonder what this verse meant when it said the greatest is love.  Most commentators believe that love is listed as the greatest because Paul knew that faith would one day become sight.  Hope, which is our certain expectation even now, will become a reality one day.  But love will go on and on and on……………forever.   It continues into the New Heavens and New Earth.  Jesus will love us forever.  Christians will love Him forever.  And we will love each other forever.  And each Person of the Trinity will love each other Person forever and ever.  Beautiful thought, isn’t it??!!  Folks, whoever gets elected will be ousted in either 4 years, or 8 years.  Their term will come to an end.  And they too will one day come to an end.  Since love lasts forever, why not practice it now?  We’re commanded to do so.  God delights in our obedience, and so should we.

3) The world is watching.  In John 17, Jesus speaks these famous words: “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”  Very simple.  Lost people are watching us.  Jesus has told us this clearly.  In fact, I did not quote the whole section, but he says this same thing in back to back verses.  Christian, the world is watching everything you do.  They are watching you at work, when they come to your home, when they visit you at church, and when you post and comment on Facebook.  Let us make sure we are representing our Savior well.  God wants His children to show the world that we love one another.  Let’s start obeying that commandment with every part of our lives, especially when engaging in social media debates

4) Bad conversational habits lead to sinful patterns that will be hard to overcome.  Often times, we worry more about how to refute an argument than we do in listening to it.  Our objective should be to further conversation, not strike it down.  Sometimes we are planning our response as the other person is speaking.  This leads to nowhere good.  James 1:19 everyone: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  Everyone is talking.  Everyone is writing and commenting.  But very few are listening.  And sad to say, very few are thinking before they speak.  This is not the way of Christ.  Let us be mindful of these sinful patterns.  And let us repent of them.  Otherwise, the enemy will get a foothold.  And social media is an easy place to establish bad patterns.  It is so tempting to quickly respond to someone who is not standing right next to you.  But be careful, those comments will hurt someone.  Trust me.

5) You could be wrong.  Others have just as strong convictions as you have.  Every true Christian wants to do the right thing.  And we all believe we are doing the right thing with our vote, or non-vote.  We should not think too highly of our own opinions on this election.  Why?  Well, besides the dangers of pride…….I would also say that an election that has caused so much disagreement in the body of Christ indicates that no one has this all figured out.  If it were that simple and clear-cut, then we would all be happy happy, joy joy. (some of you get that)  There are godly people on all sides of this monster.  Some are voting for Trump, some Hillary, some Third Party, and some not voting at all.  Many Christians are presenting this election as clearly a black and white issue, failing to see that there is much gray in it.  If there are godly men and women who think so differently on this election, then who are any of us to say that our arguments are definitely the best?  Can we not show grace and tolerance for others we disagree with?  We all believe we have great reasons for how we are going to vote, or not vote.  Conscience is the determining factor here.  Of course, our conscience should always be shaped by Biblical principles.  There are also other things people take into account when they vote.  Things like: their background and experiences, what their ethnicity is, their knowledge of the candidates, specific issues they believe are most important, how a particular candidate will affect other branches of government, etc., etc.  The list could be almost endless.

 

♦ A final word of hope and encouragement for those of us who have sinned.

There is abundant forgiveness in Christ!  Amen and Hallelujah!!  God is merciful and gracious.  1 John 2:1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”  If you have sinned in your words to another Christian, or anyone for that matter, look to the cross of Jesus Christ.  There you will find cleansing.  If you believe now that meme you posted was nasty in its portrayal of your least favorite candidate, confess to God how you offended your brother or sister.  And I would even suggest you confess how you did not honor those in government positions.  We are to pray for them.  We are not to mock them with memes that are cruel and dehumanizing.  Remember, Christ died for sinners.  He will forgive you, and give you the strength to move on.  His Spirit will bring repentance to your heart.  I know how charged up politics can be sometimes.  But we must walk by the Spirit and not let our emotions rule over us.  It is not a sin to use Facebook to post about controversial issues, but God help us when we do!

Love lasts forever.  Love endures all things.  Presidential terms do not.

 

For additional help on taming the tongue, or taming the clicker on your computer mouse, here is the best sermon ever on how to use words, and how not to use them.  You can tell I am not biased at all on how good this sermon is.  Paul Tripp really nails it here.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this!  (-:  If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email.  It’s free!  And no spam at all!  Please see the box on the upper right part of the page.  I appreciate your support.