There is an awful lot of hate out in Facebook land these days. From disagreements over SCOTUS rulings, racial tension, class wars, riots, fights between the right and left over just about everything: healthcare, immigration, gay rights, abortion, tax policies and foreign policy. Add to it an almost daily announcement of some scandal somewhere, some crazy people doing something crazy somewhere, and updates on what is going on in the Middle East. It is enough to make you crazy.
I have noticed that a mob mentality takes over online, and whatever it is, people are quick to jump to bully others into compliance with the prevailing ideology of the day, without taking into account all the facts.
The biggest fact being that the person on the other side of that keyboard is a real life person.
A person with a heart that can be broken, just like yours. A person who just wants the same things out of life that you do: security, to love and be loved, health, happiness, to be able to provide for themselves and the ones they love. A person who needs Jesus. A person just like you, just like me.
I read a really good article online a week or so ago, where the author said that she was done saying “love the sinner, hate the sin.” Because Jesus said to love your neighbor and to leave your own life of sin.
When asked who your neighbor was, He answered through the parable of the Samaritan (Luke 10), that your neighbor was the one who comes across your path.
When asked to condemn a sinner, the woman was caught in adultery, He said: “‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her’. Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there, one by one everyone in the crowd left. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” (John 8: 7-10).
He told HER to leave her life of sin. He did not call back everyone and tell them “tell her to sin no more.” Rather HE dealt with her, privately and in love.
We are not called to love the sinner and hate the sin. Rather we are called to love our neighbor, and to leave our own life of sin.
Our job as Christians is not to convert people to our way of thinking. Our job is to love our neighbor and to show them the one that loves them. To bring them to Jesus, and let HIM show them the way. We need to remember the words of Jesus: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:4).
It does not mean that we have to sit back and let everything happen without a fight. There is a time and a place to stand up for what is right. As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
But let us never forget who we really are fighting against, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
Wherever you stand on the “in” issue of the day (whatever that issue might be). Let us not forget the person on the other side of the keyboard is our neighbor who is in need of Jesus too. Just like me, just like you.
“Seek peace and pursue it” Psalm 34:14b.