People have an opinion on everything. There once was a time when you could have friends you didn’t agree with politically… You could be friends with both the Baptists and the Lutherans down the street. People didn’t post things in public places saying, “If you don’t like this thing I like, then stop being my friend”… but now we have Facebook and Twitter and the world is a crappier place as a result. I mean, the reason Reddit exists is for people to argue about why their opinion is right and everyone else is wrong. Go read literally any Reddit thread and see if I’m not right.
This really reached a fever pitch for me after I read an article by an ex Green Beret. He said this:
“Simply put, it seems like we just hate each other; and that is far more painful to me than any protest, or demonstration, or rally, or tweet. We’re told to pick a side, there’s a line drawn in the sand “are you with us or against us?” It’s just not who we are, or at least who we’re supposed to be; we’re supposed to be better than that, we’re Americans. This doesn’t even seem to be about right or wrong, but more about right or left.”
Read the rest of the article here.
My solution? We all get over ourselves. Social media is no longer a millennial or Gen X thing. No, now everyone uses it. Don’t believe me? Check this out. The alternative to getting over ourselves is more of this nonsense… these are actual things I have seen “Christians” post on Facebook in the past few months:
“I like Trump and if you don’t then unfriend me”
“If Confederate statues offend you then delete me from your friend list”
“If you voted for Trump we can’t be friends”
“If you align with the right, unfriend me”
“If you align with the left, unfriend me”
“I stand for this and kneel for this”
“I don’t stand and never will”
“If you are critical of me, I will unfriend you”
Or my absolute favorite new trend, politicians blocking followers who don’t support them. Don’t be a leader if you can’t handle criticism. Really though, it goes deeper than being thin-skinned.
Consider the things you “share” on your social media outlets. How often do you share something that goes against your beliefs? Is the answer a big fat goose egg? I thought so… The internet is big, and you can find an article that supports your point of view in almost no time. Guess what… that doesn’t mean jack!
Now, most of you are aware, I am a pastor, and I do what I can to steer clear of divisive discussions that would cause anyone to stumble. Stuff like “I love Trump” or “I hate Trump” are the types of sentiments I do my best to steer clear of. Pastors’ opinions on most things seem to carry more weight than normal which is a heavy burden to bear. Stating your opinions will almost certainly polarize your congregation, and for those reasons, I try to remove myself from any discussion that is particularly divisive, like those I shared above. At some point though… I can’t remain silent anymore. So…
GET OVER YOURSELF
Your opinion might be wrong. You wanna know how I know? It’s because it may be taken wrong by someone. It may hurt someone, may be perceived as hate, even if that’s not your intent. When we make statements like “if you don’t agree with my very narrow worldview that is shaped by my incredibly unique perspective based on the life that I lived, we can’t be friends anymore” then we are flat out wrong.
You are wrong… Get over yourself. Church… Take a hard look at yourself in light of what Paul has to say in the verses below.
Romans 14:13-18 (CEB)
13 So stop judging each other. Instead, this is what you should decide: never put a stumbling block or obstacle in the way of your brother or sister. 14 I know and I’m convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is wrong to eat in itself. But if someone thinks something is wrong to eat, it becomes wrong for that person. 15 If your brother or sister is upset by your food, you are no longer walking in love. Don’t let your food destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 And don’t let something you consider to be good be criticized as wrong. 17 God’s kingdom isn’t about eating food and drinking but about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.18 Whoever serves Christ this way pleases God and gets human approval.
And this is about food! Have we learned nothing? I was recently told it was a good thing I wasn’t a vegetarian or I was at risk for being uninvited.
Instead of calling each other names, instead of condemning people for being sensitive, or for having feelings that are different than your own, consider that you might be wrong. Or at least consider that it is possible to care for a person, to be a friend, to love someone and not agree with them on everything.
Seriously people, especially you Christians, you representatives of the church… Get over yourselves and I’ll do the same. Maybe we should all spend some more time reading Matthew 7:1-6 a few more times…
If it doesn’t mirror the greatest command of loving God with everything or loving our neighbors (yes the ones you are being so incredibly rude to) as ourselves, then we should stop using the name of Jesus in vain. We should stop calling ourselves “Christian” or little Christs because we are taking what Jesus called us to do and dragging it through the mud of our own selfishness.
Do me a favor real quick… go online and take inventory. How much of what you share is about propping up your own ego, about promoting your own self-interest? How loving does that seem? How much does that glorify God? What do others think of the Jesus you supposedly follow?
Perhaps one day we as a human race can learn to do something as basic as getting along. One day we might be able to overlook the things that divide us, things like generational separation, political affiliation, or other human-made lines in the sand that divide us and set us against each other.
Maybe, just maybe, the church could get back to being like Jesus and get us jump started on the healing process…
Until next time…