Grif.Net

08/01/20 Weekend Grif.Net – If you’re got Jesus in your profile . . .

08/01/20 Weekend Grif.Net – If you’re got Jesus in your profile . . .

Daniel Darling, VP of National Religious Broadcasters, =
wrote this week:

 

"Follower of Jesus." A follower of Jesus =
myself, I normally like to see those words on someone’s Twitter profile. =
Lately, however, I’m reluctant to scroll down for fear that this same =
follower has cussed out a politician on the social media platform or =
tweeted nasty things at a person they disagree with.
H=
ow can people who claim Jesus as Lord act so =
mean?

 

F=
irst, we often think that because we are fighting for the right things =
— justice, truth, righteousness — that it doesn’t matter how we say =
what we say. The apostle Peter, no stranger to impulsive talk, has a tip =
for us. He urged first-century believers to "have an answer for =
everyone for the hope that lies within you" but to do this with =
"gentleness and kindness." In other words, civility and =
courage are not enemies, but friends. The loudest person in the room or =
online is not necessarily the most courageous.

 

S=
econd, we go off the rails online because we forget the humanity of the =
person on the other end of that tweet. That person we are calling out or =
punching at rhetorically is not a mere avatar to be crushed, but a =
person, made in the image of God. Those with whom we disagree are not =
the sum total of their opinions. James, Jesus’ brother and another =
leader in the first-century church, urges us to consider the imago dei =
of the other before we unleash a verbal assault.

 

T=
hird, we often abandon kindness because politics has replaced religion =
as the primary driver of our discourse. We may have Jesus in the bio, =
but it’s the Republican or Democratic Party that is really in our =
hearts.

 

T=
he collapse of religious institutions and the decline of church =
attendance have created a vacuum that politics is only too ready to =
fill. But politics makes for a disappointing god. It only takes and will =
never fully satisfy the longings of the heart.

 

H=
ow do we know we are worshiping at the altar of the 24/7 political =
cycle? When we make every argument a political one. When every aspect of =
life becomes read through a narrow ideological lens. When every =
criticism of our candidate is perceived as an attack on our hero. When =
we turn a blind eye to the misdeeds of leaders in our ideological =
camp

.=

A=
s we muddle through the coming election season and a global pandemic =
that has divided Americans, Christians will be more tempted than ever to =
abandon civility.

 

C=
hristians should engage in politics, but we should do so out of =
responsibility. Politics should be a way to love our neighbors, to use =
our voices and votes to shape the world in which our neighbors live. We =
should hold our party affiliations loosely, refusing to give temporal =
institutions a primacy and authority reserved for the =
Bible.

 

A=
s members of God’s kingdom, we are indeed "strangers and =
exiles," as Peter wrote. We should always sense a dissonance =
between our temporal, earthly allegiances and the kingdom of God. =
Temporal kingdoms and leaders will only disappoint us. Our faith should =
shape our politics rather than our politics shape our =
faith.

 

K=
indness and civility shouldn’t be confused with a syrupy niceness that =
refuses to take a stand against injustice and for the vulnerable. The =
Bible is full of prophets who refused to be =
silent.

Y=
et, we should engage with humility, holding our ideas and our opinions =
loosely and not taking ourselves too seriously. We should start seeing =
folks on the other side of the aisle not as enemies to be vanquished, =
but as people who may have good ideas. We are not always right about =
everything all the time. It’s our own prejudices and biases, in fact, =
that lead us to believe the worst about our ideological =
opponents.

 

I=
nstead, we should do as James instructed: be quick to listen, slow to =
speak and slow to anger. In an internet age, we might repurpose his =
words as: be quick to read the whole story, slow to post and slow to =
outrage.

 

T=
hat’s what we should commit to when we put Jesus in our bio, and it =
should be evident in the words we post on our =
timelines.

 

~~

Dr =
Bob Griffin

bob@grif.net =
www.grif.net

"Jesus Knows Me, =
This I Love!"