Remember when social media used to be fun? Back to school pictures of kids, cute Halloween costumes and fun vacation shots? Anymore, it seems that what constitutes the majority of social media is the latest outrage. We live in the age of offense. Everyone is offended. Everyone is angry. Everyone is a victim. It’s exhausting.
The last few days it has been the “controversy” of NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem. There are strong feelings on both sides of the issue. What I find troubling are the professing Christians who get wrapped up in this stuff. Repeatedly.
Unregenerate (non Christians) people are gonna do what unregenerate people are gonna do. It surprises me not one bit that those who have no hope in Christ get emotionally invested in every controversy this world has to offer. What is surprising is when those who profess Christ do. Christian: Jesus didn’t die to change the culture. He died to pay the ransom for His people. The Church’s mission is not to change the world. The Church’s mission is to call the lost to repentance and proclaim the Gospel. Period.
When a professing Christian gets emotionally invested in which candidate won or lost the Presidential election, it demonstrates to unbelievers watching you that your hope is in this present world. When a professing Christian jumps on the latest social justice bandwagon it demonstrates to unbelievers watching that our circumstances here on earth are what matter most. Do you see the problem? I hope so.
When professing Christians look, act, and sound like the unregenerate masses, they are no longer the salt and light of the world. Living in a state of being offended by every little thing is sin. Why? Because the root of offense is pride.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3)
When we take offense, it is because we are thinking more highly of ourselves than we should.
Am I saying you shouldn’t care about social issues? No. What I am saying is that those opinions should not represent who you are; they shouldn’t be your identifier. And certainly, it is unwise to be seen by unbelievers all over social media waging war on your keyboard over it. As I have already said, we can’t fix the culture. Nor should we try! This world is steeped in sin and will continue to wax worse until Christ returns, as the Bible tells us. Injustice, crime, sin, all of it— is eradicated in the hearts of individuals when they are transformed by the Holy Spirit in repentance, belief and faith.
These issues will always be present until Christ returns in judgement, because not every person is going to be converted. And even those who are being saved still have their sin natures until they die.
So, how should we respond to these controversies? Here is a made up scenario:
Neighbor: so, did you vote for so-and-so?
Christian: No, as a Christian I couldn’t in good conscience do that because they support abortion.
Neighbor: Oh? Isn’t that a personal choice for women?
Christian: No, it isn’t. God created humanity in His image, and as such there is sanctity of life. I cannot support the murder of the unborn because they are image bearers.
I think it is fine and appropriate to have conversations around these issues with people as long as the objective is to have a Gospel conversation. In my opinion, it is also an area of Christian freedom if you would like to exercise your voting rite to effect changes in your government. However, if you profess Christ, it should not be confusing where your hope is. It is not in this world, but in the One who made it.