Several weeks ago, a discussion on Facebook turned very ugly. One person posted a short political comment. Others joined in, and pretty soon someone (we’ll call that person “Chris”) was attacked for their point of view. While Chris had a point of view that was clearly in the minority, it was very obvious that Chris had thought long and hard about their point of view. Whenever Chris tried to further explain their point of view, they were verbally attacked.
Did I have an opinion on the subject? Yes, in fact, a very strong one. But I decided not to join in the discussion, realizing that there is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3). I did not feel my voice would add to the discussion, nor did I think the discussion was going to change any minds. In fact, the only thing I felt the discussion was going to do was repel people. Although no more than a dozen people were posting, most or all were from CCF, which was quite distressing.
I am in no way saying that we should keep our opinions to ourselves. When godly people don’t speak up and act, the most horrific things can happen (and have happened) as a result. But before raising our voices, we have to ask if things we are saying are beneficial for lifting others up or are going to change something. This posting was not beneficial and was not going to change minds. I still cannot get some of the venomous attacks on Chris out of my mind. We need to speak the truth in love, and we need to stand firm in our faith, but it does not always have to be in an open forum and certainly does not have to be done with such hostility.
If I were not a follower of Christ and I saw that post and was aware that the people posting were Christians, I would see judgement and hatred and would in no way think that the church was “for” me. I know people who have walked away from their professed faith for that very reason.
In Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17, He prays for His followers and all who will eventually follow Him. He talks about how He desires that the world will see Him through us, and His desire for us to be one. I encourage you to read it aloud as if Jesus is saying it to you.
Before each of us put our opinion out there on social media, let’s ask whether our post is showing the world who Jesus is. If not, perhaps it’s instead a time to be silent, or a time to speak one-on-one. Let’s let Rhode Island see that God is for them.