The world is a stage, and everyone’s buying tickets.
When you’re online, remember that you are in front of the world.
If my only understanding of Christians came from what I saw on Twitter and Facebook, I would assume that they are some of the most defensive, infighting, nasty, virtue-signaling group of individuals on the planet.
We are dying on hills of theological minutiae at the expense of our witness.
In John 13:35, Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Theology has value. God has always identified Himself by His attributes.
Jehovah-Jireh = “The Lord our provider”
Jehovah-Raffa = “The Lord our healer”
Jehovah-Shalom = “The Lord is peace”
These are some of the names that God calls Himself.
If God names Himself by what He does, then surely there’s value in sorting out together how God tends to operate in the affairs of man and what He does and does not do. Those are wonderful, productive conversations to have.
But what I see on social media is not the way to have them. These bitter, nasty exchanges with people calling each other heretics and false teachers—this is not of the Kingdom.
I can say it’s not the Kingdom with confidence because John 13:35 gives me an unmistakable, non-negotiable characteristic of Jesus’s disciples. They have love for one another. These vicious echo-chamber arguments I see online are not corrections in love that I see.
This is hatred, bitterness, jealousy, backbiting, and the idolatry of theology.
The Bible says it better than I can. Galatians 5:19-23: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
This is strong language. “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
I implore you, no matter how RIGHT you are, do not engage in this way with this nonsense online. If not for your own soul, then for the integrity of our witness as the Church, walk away. It is better to be right and silent. It is better to be slandered.
As Paul said to the Corinthians, “To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?” (1 Corinthians 6:7) If he says this for lawsuits, how much more would it apply to petty arguments?
Can you imagine if we could show the world what it looks like to disagree in love? To engage a discussion in humility and peace? In good faith with the intention to learn and grow? That’s something the world doesn’t have but desperately needs.
When we fight like this and slander our brethren, we slander the Church. The Church is the Bride of Christ, and He desperately loves her. He is jealous for His Bride.
Don’t give this wicked nonsense any oxygen. If we cannot engage in love, it is better not to engage at all.
Suppose two Christian men bitterly disagreed on a finer theological point. Suppose they spent two lifetimes in suspicion of one another. When they both died and met the Lord, they discovered that one of them was right and the other wrong.
But as they bask side-by-side in the unadulterated glory of Jesus, today even, neither one of them seems to care. It’s a distant and trivial memory, no more important to them now than the sandwich you ate for lunch last Wednesday is important to you today.
Let us behave on Earth, therefore, as we will behave in heaven. Our very lives depend on it.