Social-Media Thoughts for Christians in a Covid-19 Age
To my Christian brothers and sisters:
In a semi-break from my typical writing style, as of late I have been sensing great tensions on social media among Christians over Covid-19 views. So while I normally prefer to remain silent during cultural and political conflict, this time, I fear collateral damage both to the name of Christ and to the social, emotional, and mental health of the masses. As such, I wanted to share a few thoughts;)
First of all, I think it is important to note that we are all struggling… some with failing health, some on the frontlines battling inhumane levels of exhaustion and trauma-related symptoms, some who have been thrust into deep, unbearable levels of grief, some who have lost livelihoods and incomes, some with the overwhelm of taking on multiple jobs and roles in a confined space…some with sudden solitary isolation and loneliness. Everyone is experiencing personal battles unique to their own individual situation; but the crux of the issue is that every single battle is valid. Every single situation is worthy of acknowledgment and respect.
In marital and family counseling I consistently encourage loved ones to “listen” and then to “validate” each other’s feelings and experiences. While It’s important to try to understand their feelings, it is absolutely imperative to honor them as real and relevant to that person. My concern with social media conflict is the absence of this respect, this honor, or the willingness to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19-20). And just like in family counseling, it is crucial to listen and validate EACH side, EACH view. Listen to the first responders, doctors, nurses, and all on the frontlines who are witnessing something unlike they have ever seen before over the course of their careers; listen to those who have survived it and say they have never experienced any sickness like that before in their entire lifetime, at moments staring death right in the face. Listen to the grieving as they beg people to take this seriously. Listen to the jobless, to those who have lost their livelihoods and fear for their families with a prolonged economic shutdown. Listen to the mamas, overwhelmed and treading water. Listen to the families, begging for selfless humility in following recommended guidelines for the sake of their beloved elderly. Listen to the fears. Listen to the heartaches. Listen to the needs.
And then let us remember as we respond, that as a body of believers, we are called to be salt and light in this very dark world (Matt 5:13-16). We represent Christ as His ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20), so every word that we speak, every action we take must be in a manner worthy of the Lord, bearing fruit in every good work (Col 1:10). May our words be pleasant as honey, sweet to the soul and health to the bones (Prov 16:24). May we speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, showing gentleness and courtesy toward all people (Titus 3:2). The world is watching how we handle this conflict, and we have an incredible opportunity, right now, TO SHINE.
Then regarding the very many fears and concerns voiced by many, I want to encourage you and remind you that God is still in control (Col 1:16-17)! Regarding fears of losing freedoms and our rights as Americans, I want to bring remembrance to the most valuable kind of freedom there is: the freedom we already possess in Christ! Because where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor 3:17)! Jesus also guaranteed us that we would experience trouble and hardship in this world (John 16:33), but He has already overcome it! And we are not called to fight for or take up a cause for our own rights (Rom 12:19); vengeance is to be left in the hands of a righteous God; and even Jesus told Peter to put down his sword. Rather, if someone takes our coat, we are to give him our shirt too (Luke 6:29). We are called to die to ourselves and to crucify our own selfish desires and put the needs of others ahead of our own (Gal 5:24-25, Phil 2:3).
God also specifically told us that we don’t need to fear any conspiracy theories either (Isaiah 8:12-13) because God is greater than any government or authority; and in fact, He has established and ordained the very authorities currently in place (Rom 13:1-2). He works everything out for good according to his purposes (Rom 8:28) and He can take anything meant for evil and use it for good (Gen 50:20)! So maybe instead of worrying about the origins of the pandemic, I would like to pose a greater question…since God is sovereign and He has allowed this, what might He be doing through it?
On fears for our economy and daily living, I would like to encourage and remind all believers that God also promised us that He would provide for all of our needs (Phil 4:19); and He is not human, so He does not lie or change His mind (Num 23:19). We can trust Him!
And ultimately, God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). And since perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18), again we have the most incredible opportunity to love away the fear of those around us by pointing them to Christ through the fruit of our words, and our actions!
So brothers and sisters, let us come together as the family that we are! Listen to each other, love each other, help each other, be the good Samaritan… Be kind. Be gracious. Be different. Shine your light. Together, in the power of the Holy Spirit, let us light up this darkness together!
Scripture Verses referenced:
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” – James 1:19-20 NLT
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:13-16 NIV
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV
“so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” – Colossians 1:10 ESV
“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24 NKJV
“to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” – Titus 3:2 ESV
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”- Colossians 1:16-17 NIV
“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”- 2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”- John 16:33 NIV
“Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.” – Romans 12:19 NLT
“If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.” – Luke 6:29 NLT
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” – Galatians 5:24-25 NLT
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,” – Philippians 2:3 NIV
“Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble.” – Isaiah 8:12-13 NLT
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” – Romans 13:1-2 NIV
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” – Romans 8:28 NLT
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”- Genesis 50:20 NIV
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19 NKJV
“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” – Numbers 23:19 NLT
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18 NKJV