Are you open to letting certain people give input into what you’re doing? If so, you are in the majority. For some people, this fear can be quite paralyzing. For others, they seem to brush it off with ease. So, it seems to the onlookers.
Years ago, it would have been easy to navigate the sea of opinions. How so? It is because you limited to your physical location; as opposed to the Internet and social media. You are also limited to family and friends, who actually know you; as opposed to total strangers. Today, it seems we live in a different world.
It seems we are afraid of speaking our opinions, for fear of being hurt or challenged. At the same time, we are afraid of being wrong or rejected if we do say something. If you spend any time on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter then you will know what I’m talking about. Young people would say that we’re too easily triggered by the simplest of joke or comment.
I would definitely agree with my young friends. Let’s not let our anger, fear, and anxiety get the better of us. I would like to offer some suggestions that may be of help to you. How about we start with Ephesians 4:29?
You and I have a choice in what comes out of our mouth! You can use your mouth to build up someone or rip them, to shreds. The same principle applies to our written words, too. The key is, our words don’t evaporate into thin air; rather, they have a tendency to linger around in a person’s heart or mind.
For this reason, it is a good idea to think before you say it or write it. Some time ago, I watched a video on YouTube. Paul was entertaining his audience; while role-playing a video game. I notice something and offered a suggestion. Guess what?
It seems someone got triggered because of my comment. I could have replied in anger; however, it would have accomplished nothing good. So, I let it go and forgot it. Interestingly enough, other people did speak up for me and I appreciated it. Is there a secondary reason for not reacting? Yes, there is a secondary one and I’ll let you figure it out.
The same principle applies to our posts on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other social media platforms. The above example is an easy one to point to. Let’s step it up, a notch. Shall we? During the last U.S. Election, you would think a ferocious civil war has been fought across the landscape of Facebook.
How dare that person has a different political opinion than me! I thought the person was a reflection of my own vaunted opinion! I can’t be friend with someone, who is different than me. Don’t they know that I am perfect and know everything!
I wish the above paragraph came from a fictional novel; however, it is not fiction. Did I engage in this strange activity of unfriending someone? With one exception, I had no problems with my conservative friends and my liberal friends. Why did I not have a problem? It is because I don’t expect people to agree with my opinions. I respect my friends’ right to have their own opinions.
What is the fun of a debate, if everyone agrees with you? It would be boring and devoid of life. Do you know the saddest part and it is a poor reflection on the Church? Yes, it is Christians unfriending other Christians for the crime of having a different opinn.
We are called to be salt and light to a world thaat is in desperate need of it. How do we show this light? It’s God’s love shining through our words and our actions. What do you suppose people saw on Facebook?
Were they seeing the love of Jesus; as it is expressed through their words and actions? How about pride? I saw quite a bit of it, on Facebook. How about you? Did not Jesus say something about the world knowing us, by our love for one another?
When is the last time, you read John 13:34-35?
34 I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”
We have all fallen short of this commandment of Jesus. I, for one, don’t claim to be perfect and I don’t want this to be a downer. There is something that may help and it’s more than “Father, please forgive me.” Yes, we should ask God, the Father to forgive us. Howeverr, we need to go a step further.
If the person is in your church or a nearby one then I suggest that you do the following. Ask the person to forgive you and give the person, a hug. It’s a way of saying, “Sorry” or whatever is in your heart. What if, the person lives far away? Have you ever heard of Facebook?
You can send a private message through Facebook messenger or you could use a very old piece of technology. It’s called a phone or you could send an old fashion letter through the US Post Office. That will shock them. Before you rush off, I suggest that you pray and ask Jesus. Let God help you in reconciling with that friend.
Are not Christians supposed to live in unity? Doesn’t Psalms 133:1 say, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!”? Yes, the Bible does talk about the blessings of a unified Body of Christ. However, this unity does not exclude differing points of view. Haven’t you read what happened in Acts 15?
They had a common problem. Not surprisingly, there were multiple groups represented at the Council of Jerusalem. A conservative camp wanted the Law taught to the Gentile; so as to ensure proper conduct. Would you believe that not all conservatives were on the same page? A liberal camp wanted the Gentiles to walk in total freedom and not be shackled by the Law. I could make the same point for the liberal camp.
Guess Wha? They did not have a problem with different opinions. I would not be surprised if the conversation got rough. It is bound to happen when it comes to controversial topics. Yet, they were known for their love for each other.
How does this help in today’s highly sensitive world? It’s the same principle. It is all about your heart’s attitude towards someone. Remember, we are called to love each other; not agree with each other.
I suggest that you review whatis in Ephesians 4:29 and ask the Holy Spirit to help you live by what Paul is saying. Ask the Holy Spirit about what someone is saying. Ask Jesus, “How should I respond?” It may be that you are to accept the person in LOVE. Remember, “accepting” is not the same thing as “understanding”.