Seriously, can we stop this? Tuesday is over. Your candidate did or did not win, or maybe none of the candidates was “yours” and you feel disenfranchised. I’m sorry. Or congrats. Whichever applies to you.
Either way, here’s a news flash: OUR GOVERNMENT IS NEVER GOING TO SAVE US!
I know, I know. The president is important and powerful and the election was a big deal. But please think back with me over the past 50 years. I know, some of you can’t because you weren’t born yet. I’m sorry. Read a history book. And some of you would like to go back further. I’m sorry. In fairness to our younger friends, we’ll stick with the last 50 years. Are you remembering? Notice that NOT ONE of those administrations has created the idyllic world they promised in their campaign speeches. NOT ONE. And NOT ONE has ended the world as we know it. NOT ONE.
I don’t want to go into all of the whys or why nots, because frankly, I’m tired of the debate. I just want to make one point to all of us, but especially to my Christ-following friends.
Wherever you landed post-election, let’s not sacrifice kindness for the sake of gloating and contempt or anger and disappointment. Your words matter. It doesn’t matter if they are spoken or written. When you re-post someone else’s harsh words on a social media, those words become yours, too. However you comment – with your nose in the air, looking down at the schmucks whose candidate lost, or with fingertips dripping with disdain for the ignorant saps who voted for the winner – it matters.
Here’s another news flash: All democrats are not smarter than libertarians who are not more freedom-loving than republicans who don’t have all the answers either… please don’t make me go on about additional parties. You get the point.
When we fire pointed words across a loud and chaotic screen filled with venom, launching attacks at random into cyberspace, we do real damage. We wound. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe it’s not. I can’t tell anymore. We just launch, and launch and launch, irrespective of the target, blowing up relationships, discarding friendships regardless of former affections, letting go of actual people in favor of holding on to talking points or ideals or the grand hope that some candidate is going to change everything. We imagine our point/counterpoint chess game will lead to the checkmate to end all checkmates. But it never does.
We say things on social media sites to people we love that we would never say if we were face to face across a cup of coffee with them. The absence of proximity makes us forget that the person we’re shaming or condemning may have shared holidays with us or changed our diapers or mentored us in some way and might have some actual hard-won wisdom underneath their gray hair and bifocals. Physical distance conceals the fact that the magnificent point you think you just scored took a big chunk out of a relationship with someone you love – a co-worker, a neighbor, a niece or nephew, cousin or friend.
What if we could just sit down and have an honest-to-God, face to face, eye contact conversation rather than blowing indiscriminate steam from everyone’s favorite blow hole, the internet? Crazy, I know… those days are fading fast. But is anyone else tired of seeing the “Go ahead and unfriend me if you don’t agree” posts? It’s exhausting.
I’m sorry. It’s been a long week.
I’ll get back to my one point. Scripture has so much to say about the importance of our words, our hearts and our actions toward each other. Listen to some of these:
Jesus had some words about our words. He said this; “The heart overflows in the words a person speaks; your words reveal what’s within your heart.”
Might it be time to check our hearts, friends? What’s overflowing from us?
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Eph. 4:29)
This one isn’t about cussing, guys. Do your words build others up? Are they beneficial for those who listen?
“If you put yourself on a pedestal, thinking you have become a role model in all things religious, but you can’t control your mouth [or your keystrokes], then think again. Your mouth [and post] exposes your heart, and your religion is useless.” (James 1:26, italics mine)
“Whoever puts down another is not wise, but one who knows better keeps quiet.” (Prov. 11:12)
I’m not making these up!
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” (Matt. 7:12)
Has this become a golden oldie? Have we forgotten the golden rule?
“If it is within your power, make peace with all people.” (Rom. 12:18)
How are you using your power?
Seriously, I could go on, and you’d get tired of reading, and that’s not good for my blog… But we human beings are created to bear the image of God into our world. We Christ-followers are to reflect Jesus into our spheres of influence. We are to love as He loved us.
I’ll end with one more, and I encourage you to do the same:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
You can change the tone of discourse, because your words matter. You have a sphere of influence. It goes way beyond your social media, and I’m begging you to use it. There are a million better ways to use your platform and your energies than to lambaste each other with one more “educational” article or superior comment.
Are you worried about the poor? Donate to a homeless shelter – give money, time, energy. Are you concerned with human rights? Use your voice, your hands, your influence to persuade – that’s almost a lost art. I promise your love will have more impact than your hate. Do you think education is the key? Go and tutor some kids. I can’t wait until you discover the power in that! Are orphans a passion? Adopt! Foster! You’ll be blessed beyond measure. Hunger, clean water, human trafficking… are those concerns? Do something beyond posting! Need ideas? Talk to me!
Our government is never going to save us. It’s never going to solve all the world’s problems. It will never even come close, no matter who sits in the oval office. But friends, we have more power than we know, in our words, in our actions, in our love. It really is up to us. And if we aren’t recognized by our love, we are missing the whole point.
For the literal love of God and each other, let’s quit sparring and actually combat evil in the world with good. Let’s replace hate with love. It really is up to us.