Lens and Filters for Christians
It’s so immediate and so tempting to impulsively jump into the fray and mouth off on FB or Twitter or in the comments section of online newspapers. The old fashioned letter to the newspaper editor was a slow process. It had to be properly worded in tidy paragraphs and well thought out – worthy of being published. Then, once you nuanced and edited it for the final time, you folded the paper, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, licked the seal and dropped it in the mail. It may get published. But by the time you started to address the envelope, your blood had stopped boiling and other legitimate distractions had tempered your warped perspective. The urgency and intensity had subsided. And the risk of un-Christ-like words being published for the world to see was averted. Phew!!
With the pervasiveness of spontaneous messaging and its potential to go viral – very publicly – there has never been a time in the history of the Christian faith when we need to be more cautious with our words. One impulsive comment, posted by a Christian, has the potential to do great harm and only add fuel to the fire of those who seek to discredit the Christian faith and advance causes that are opposed to the Word of God.
2015 needs to be a year when we focus on what lens we are supposed to be using through which we view our perishing world and what filters we need to use to color our responses.
If liberal media has the potential to promote anti-God causes and sentiments, it’s fair to say that conservative media has the potential to promote anti-Christian sentiments in the very world we are supposed to be winning lost ones to Christ. When conservative media, newscasters and theologians, reciprocate and retaliate with hostility, using strong, demeaning, poisonous, provocative, muscle-attack words — what really is being accomplished? Will it stem the tide of evil and eventually turn the world around? Does it make it easier to reach the ‘other side’ and win them to Christ? Actually, Satan wins! Yes the converted in the bleachers may say: “Rah! Rah! Go baby go. Give it to them. Blast them!” But really – is that the way the BIBLE says we are to win the unconverted to Christ?
Our lens to view this sad and dark world should be the BIBLE – not the media, not politics and not caustic talk show hosts. And the filter to guard and gauge all our spoken and written words should be the BIBLE.
Read out loud to yourself (to avoid skimming) Paul’s staccato and rapid fire bullets targeting our Christian behaviour in this godless world and ask yourself: is this how I am presenting myself to the world? Is this how Christians are perceived collectively?
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-21
Is it a stretch to see at least ten H’s in the verses above? ‘Checklist Christianity’ has a very negative connotation but maybe we do need to pray over a checklist each morning and at the conclusion of each day as we confess our failures. These H’s are to mark our behaviour in the assembly, in our homes, at school, at work, in our leisure and online. We aren’t to have multiple selves – sweet and pious on Sunday morning but harsh and mouthy through the week.
TEN H HABITS OF TRUE CHRISTIANS
- Holiness marks my behaviour.
- Honour others and I humiliate no one.
- Happy to the point of rejoicing to make others crave a drink at the fountain of life.
- Harmonious living wherever I find myself.
- Haughtiness – not the slightest trace of it in my behaviour and communications.
- Humility displayed even when I am countering views opposed to the Bible.
- Honourable choices.
- Honest in the sight of all.
- Hungry enemies I compassionately help.
Pray about the lens and the filters.
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