It was hard to see Sweet Sixteen go. For a few short weeks, it actually felt like things were almost back to normal. But of course they weren’t. Far from it. It’s hard for me not to be very outspoken about everything that’s going on right now. I have to remind myself that politics is not my arena. However, the Family of God is.
I am so appalled by the wedge being driven between Christian brothers and sisters by both the mask controversy surrounding the Covid virus, and the Black Lives Matter movement. It is a double pronged attack by the enemy of God and man, who is so exquisitely good at using whatever tool we allow him to use.
Can you imagine how Satan loves Facebook and Twitter? Of course, it isn’t Facebook or Twitter that’s the problem. Using either is like driving a vehicle. The car doesn’t create road rage…it’s the driver.
We live in a small lakeside community. One of our neighbors is a successful and highly respected professional, who on occasion will be leaving to drive in to her office just as we pass by her house on our way into town. She’s a gracious and pleasant person to talk to, and very well thought of––by anyone who hasn’t had the misfortune of sharing the road with her.
Behind the wheel she is a reckless menace. She drives like a banshee, always speeding, then tailgating slower cars she runs up on, then she’ll whip around, ignoring oncoming cars, occasionally all but forcing the car she’s passing to the shoulder to keep her from killing her fool self.
And what is the predictable result? Road Rage! Other nice people that lady leaves in her wake (like me) are all of the sudden absolutely livid. In my case, the gentle Spirit upon whom I depend to counsel and direct my paths is left in a noxious cloud of exhaust, as I grip the wheel and floorboard it to try and catch that idiot to mete out a little eye–for–an–eye. Thankfully, both my wife and the Holy Spirit are saying the same thing–––Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Just slow down! It’s like shame in stereo.
The lady? She is unaware and unconcerned that she has ruined my otherwise pleasant and reflective drive into town, and given God and everybody occasion to wonder if I’m worthy to claim to be a minister of the gospel.
I suppose what happened is a phrase that affects me a lot like being tailgated –––we just chose to disagree. The lady chose to drive without consideration of how it would affect me, and I had to choose to sit there and take it, rather than go run her reckless behind off the road, possibly causing an pile up on the highway in the process. More than once I’ve chosen to just take it, but it still makes my blood pressure go up to think about it.
The Information Superhighway, as they called the Internet in the early days, is filled with reckless, thoughtless drivers who are leaving outrage in their wake.
The insulation of being behind the wheel in your car, or sitting at home in front of your laptop makes it easy to forget that those people out there are real. It depersonalizes them. Would I call my neighbor a fool woman, or idiot to her face? Never in a million years, because she’s a nice lady that I wave and speak to when we’re out walking. She’s kind and sociable. It’s only behind the wheel that she behaves like a tool of Satan.
We need to be able to give each other some grace. Maybe a little self–directed humor is in order. Nothing is better at bringing the blood pressure down.
As we’re working on the set for the production of the musical, Ragtown, I’ve found myself dwelling on some of the things people are taking the liberty of posting lately–––embers of a fire the enemy loves to stoke. According to things I’ve read on Facebook, I’m an uncaring, disrespectful murderer. Oh yeah…and a racist bigot. And those are the opinions of people who know and supposedly love me. I don’t think I have many enemies, but who needs those when I have Facebook friends like these?
We’ve become an uncivil, faceless society in more ways than one. When we are separated, as we have been, it’s so easy to forget that face–to–face, we actually love and respect each other.
I, of all people, believe in freedom of expression. After all, I write plays, songs, and books for a living. I live and work in the arena of Christianity, an arena within which there are extremely diverse and opposing points of view. And I have very definite positions, based on the way I presently understand the Bible.
Others read and study the very same Bible, and can disagree completely with my conclusions. We can disagree, and yet still respect one another and our respective positions. We can still delight in each other’s company, and even love each other. Christians have been doing that for over two thousand years.
However, in our present uncivil war––and that is what we’re are in––anyone who might disagree with my position on…let’s say for example, baptism…might well decide to post on Facebook that all people who believe as I do are heretics who are dishonoring God and are going to cause people to spend eternity in hell.
Stating your own personal belief is a far cry from disparaging the people who believe differently.
Facebook posts of people standing in judgement of us because of our opinions, tend to play over and over in our heads, and we imagine more and more hateful motives as we plummet deeper down that rabbit hole.
Satan loves all that. We just need to listen, so we can hear that still small voice. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Slow down!