Monday, December 23, 2013

Shut up and love.

 
"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels,
but didn’t love others,
I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."
1 Corinthians 13:1
 
I love social media.  I just hate what it's done to some people. 
 
It's created in us an over-inflated sense of ego that seemingly demands everyone to formulate - and consequently share - their own personalized response to every single issue under the sun.  It's morphed our newsfeeds into soapboxes....  
 
This week, my newsfeed was flooded with articles and statuses and posts regarding the famous bearded redneck from Louisiana who ignited a cultural firestorm of debate with his words.  Everyone from celebrities to theologians to politicians took to their social media to explain, complain, or proclaim their own versions of truth.
 
Admittedly, I took a small part in reposting a couple of blogs from my favorite writers, whose words focused not on who is right or wrong, but rather on the deeper truth that we, as believers, must cling to....
"I will not reinforce the notion that anyone is less than, condemned, or left out, because if that is true, then my salvation is a lie. Because I love mercy for myself, I can’t help but love it for everyone else, and I won’t cheapen it by imagining that my grace is free but someone else’s must be earned. Jesus is the best news in history." - Jen Hatmaker
 
Back in the Spring, another cultural/theological debate emerged the week of Easter, flooding the pages of social media.
 
Is it any coincidence that the prince of this world would try to distract us from the Prince of Peace?  





Is it any coincidence that these distractions of monumental proportions coincide with the exact holidays set apart to celebrate Christ as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? 

And we - oh, especially we Christians - fall for it. 

Even at Christmas.
 
Hook.  Line.  Sinker.
 
Over and over and over again.
 
We are enticed and reeled in.  We take to our keyboards and screens.  We post and re-post, tweet and re-tweet, investing and ingesting until we fill ourselves up to the brim with the controversies of this world...
 
Oh, I've done it, too.  More times than I can count, until my heart was sick with conviction over the time wasted, words wasted...
 
love wasted.  
 
Oh, If only a fraction of our energy was spent doing the thing Jesus actually told us to do. 
 
In Mark 12, we see a heated debate taking place between Jesus and the Saducees.  Once he had rendered them speechless with His responses, the Pharisees pressed him further.  One of them, a teacher of the religious law, asked Him which commandment was the most important.
 
Now, some would say this particular guy was attempting to bait Jesus.  But, I like to think this scribe, much like us, genuinely wanted to know the answer.  He had just stood in the midst of the great cultural and religious debates and discussions regarding Resurrection and taxes.  He had witnessed Jesus astonish the religious leaders.  I believe, as some commentaries suggest, that he genuinely wanted to know how Christ would answer such a difficult question on something that would pertain to everyone...
And Jesus replied, The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord..  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’  The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these."
Did you catch that?  Jesus is saying that loving people is equally as important as loving Him with our whole hearts, souls, all of our mind and strength.  He even goes as far as to tell us how to love them.

As much as we love ourselves.
 
This Christmas, I won't allow myself to become distracted with the debates of this world.  I'm going to turn my eyes from my newsfeed and towards that baby in the manger, our God in the flesh who came that we might know God, that we might know love.  (1 John 4:8)

I'm going to use my social media feed to tell people - yes all people - the only truth that matters for eternity, which is that baby in a manger is our God in the flesh.  He knows you.  He loves you.  He came to save you.  He wants to have a relationship with you because you are His child.  His beloved, regardless of what the world says you are.   
 
I'll let the theologians and the politicians and all the other bloggers and tweeters hash out the cultural and religious wars on the pages of our news feeds.  
 
I'm going to shut up and love. 

Can I encouarage you to do the same?  Hug someone.  Buy someone a cup of coffee or a meal.  Serve someone.  Love someone. 

And for the literal love of God, show someone God loves them. 

Shut up and love.
 

"Keep reminding God's people of these things.
Warn them before God against quarreling about words;
it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen."
~ 2 Timothy 2:24

1 comment: