here we are in 2017, after a democratic presidential election, in a 'civilized' land (note the quotations - i use those emphatically!), and there is such miscommunication and hatred and ire going around, especially fueled by the ignorance of social media... people are jumping on bandwagons left and right, joining protests and marches here and there...
and i'm amazed at how quickly people are turning on each other.people who have been long-friends and people who are family are 'unfriending' each other...
people are physically (and virtually) attacking the businesses, homes, and cars of people 'on the other side of the issue...'
the internet (especially social media) allows us to sit behind our computer screens and post ugly, pointed words that we most likely wouldn't say in person (sometimes it's a good thing to take courage from the safety of your keyboard, but so often it's not)
people are posting, hashtagging, snapchatting, tweeting, blogging, redditting, youtubing, instagramming, and probably even pinning about whatever 'movement' has really struck their chord.
maybe it's a good feeling to be part of a group.
maybe the rhetoric sounds right-on.
maybe the photos are really convincing.
maybe that paragraph you were scrolling past said your thoughts perfectly.
maybe the spokespeople are saying the revolutionary words you've been dying to hear.
for Jesus-followers, maybe some ideas even sound Christian-like.
it's easy. it's sensational. it's a way to feel involved.
march! click! re-post! protest! make a catchy sign and get on that corner! hashtag!
but a disturbing/dangerous aspect of all this bandwagonning: people aren't getting the real stories behind the movements; instead they're just ignorantly jumping on bandwagons, getting all upset and incensed on behalf of something they don't even understand. people are marching in the streets to support groups and agendas, and protesting others, that they haven't actually researched.
you may like to think that your movement was started spontaneously by the people for the people, but look into it: find the leader; find the organizer.
and how many vocal Christians have really looked into the Bible and spent time in prayer to discover God's viewpoint?
here are some questions to ponder:
~have you researched the organizer/leader/spokesperson? what do they believe? are they someone you'd like to stand with?
~have you researched the mission statement (or whatever may be similar) of the group you like? where does it seem to be getting its ideas? is it part of a bigger organization with which you'd like to align yourself?
~if you're protesting, have you actually researched the subject of your protest? have you read the actual document to know if you disagree? do you know the law that's being amended or being upheld?
~if you are a Christian, are these posts/blogs/etc actually Christ-like? is the animosity and irritation and disgust bringing you or those around you closer to Jesus?
as people virally turn against each other, i am reminded of Jesus' words:
"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child.
Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.
All men will hate you because of Me,
but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."
- Jesus, quoted in Mark 13:12-13
(for more context, i have quoted surrounding verses below)
even though the world already saw this first-hand in roman times, and then in nazi germany times, and now in patches all over the world where the church is persecuted daily*, i guess i've just been living in some kind of fantasy land that i might not see its day in usa times. (even though we've had little tastes of it, like at columbine..)
i know the verses are applicable all the time, in a sense, since true acceptance of Christ always changes the person and causes a reaction (often negative) from everyone around. but there is a time when the verses become literal and belief in Jesus becomes deadly, either due to personal hatred or due to the law of the land.
this is not a post to say that we should all be friends. that's not going to happen. in fact, as time moves on, and the fire gets hotter, we will actually just see the true Christians emerge, and the fake ones fall away, and the true colors of the public will be shown. where do you stand?
as you see your friends and family post about whatever group they're joining, beware, because generally speaking, being on Jesus' side and telling the truth won't land you in the popular group.
and also generally speaking, the farther you move into that popular group, often led by celebrities and politicians, the closer you will come to being the perpetrator in those words spoken by Jesus.
how close are you to betraying your Christian brother to death?
*please visit www.persecution.com to learn more about those around the world being persecuted for their faith in Jesus!
Mark 13:5-27 NIV
"Jesus said to them, 'Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in My name, claiming, "I am He," and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
'You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of Me you will stand before governors and kinds as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
'Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
'When you see "the abomination that causes desolation" standing where it does not belong - let the reader understand - then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now - and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom He has chosen, He has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, "Look, here is the Christ!" or, "Look, there He is!" do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect - if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
'But in those days, following that distress,
'"the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken."
'At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.'"